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CD Player's Site
Hints, Tips, Strategy and FAQs for playing Populous III online


Online Features

Once the game is launched you will find yourself in the game setup screen. Here the host will set the options, hopefully after consulting with the other players. Your choices (as non-host) are limited to selecting allies. You do that by clicking on the word '<neutral>' which appears against your name. Each successive click cycles it through from neutral to good to evil back to neutral again. Neutral has no allies; if you select either good or evil, you will be allied with all other players who have made the same selection. If no one has, the effect is the same as neutral. This is normally only used during 4-player games for a 2 vs 2 game (like tag-wrestling).

You can check on the spell and building options which are being set by clicking on 'restrictions'. This will call up a sub-window with a scrollable list of spells and buildings. Note that while you are looking at this, you will be missing any chat, so don't spend too long there or you may find that everyone has teamed up against you!

When you are happy with the selections (yours and the hosts), click on the '<no>' in the 'Ready?' column, to convert it to '<yes>'. The host can't start the game until everyone has done this, so don't forget it, or you will get a (more or less) polite reminder!

Q: What's that column marked 'Ping'?

A: The ping number measures the time it takes for a signal from the host to reach each of the other players, and this will determine the amount of delay which you will experience between issuing a command and seeing the result (lag). The higher the ping, the greater the lag. Values of 400 and below are great, up to 750 is playable. Above that and you might be better off trying a new game with different players. High ping values are caused by either congestion on the internet, or by a long route between the computers. From the UK, for instance, you should get good ping with other UK players, but worse with players in the US or Russia. By definition, the host will always have a ping of 1. Equally, the ping of unconnected players is shown as 1, so if you are hosting, and all the players pings are shown as 1, this is bad, not good! Ping and lag are well covered in the Populous online faq and help.

Q: What extra features are there in the online game compared to the stand alone version?

A: The main differences are 'Forge World' and 'Ghost Army'. There is also Blood Lust, which made an appearance in the standalone version, but was not common. Forge World is available as an option to the host at the start of the game. It gives you 120 seconds to modify the terrain around your reincarnation circle, and a range of spells to do it (documented in the Populous in-game help screens). Ghost Army is an extra spell which allows you to create fake followers which you can order around but which have no abilities and very limited strength. Blood Lust is a spell which you cast on your followers to increase their attack and defence strengths. Blood Lust + Magic Shield + Invisibility is an interesting combination to deal with! The two spells are also documented in the in-game Populous help.

Q: What's the point of Ghost Army?

A: They are a good defence against the Angel of Death, because it can't distinguish them from real followers. Also, you can use them to psych out your opponent ("She's got THAT many warriors?!!!). Cast the spell on a particular type of follower to get more of that type. It works on the shaman too! See under 'Spells' for more ideas.

Q: What should I do during the Forge World period?

A: It's up to you, but a good start is to use <raise land> (the flat topped icon) to turn all sea within range into building land. Cast the spell at the extreme range (ie. on the smoke circle) because then the effect will continue outside the circle and you'll get more land. Even if you've not got any water inside the circle, it is sometimes worth casting at the edge anyway, if there is water nearby. Flat land for building is at a premium on some maps, so make as much as you can.

Make sure that you use all the trees spells. Place trees where you are unlikely to build (eg. on the edge of hills) so then they will be able to regenerate, rather than being destroyed later. Also, don't forget to put some trees on the new land you just created to save your braves some walking.

Make doubly sure that you use all the wildmen spells. Followers take time to come from hut building, so if you miss this opportunity, you will be seriously disadvantaged. Any wildmen caught in the reincarnation centre at the end of the period (when the shaman appears) will automatically be converted into followers. It therefore makes sense to wait until near the end of the period and cast all the wildmen spells in the circle. Don't leave it too late before you start, otherwise the lag effect may mean you lose some of the spells! 10-12 seconds seems to be about right.

I like to set up camera views during this time (using shift and one of Z, X, C or V). Then, during the game, you can return to that view instantly by pressing the letter on its own. Good for keeping an eye on the approaches to your base. Use any spare time to go into orbit view (press return) to check out the geography and the location of the enemy tribes and any totems.

Q: How do I send a message during a game?

A: Press 'M', Type your message, select the colours of the people you want to receive it, and then press enter.

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