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Hints, Tips, Strategy and FAQs for playing Populous III online
There are a range of features on this site to help you get your head around all the various maps which are available for Populous. This is particularly useful for multiplayer maps, because you can normally only access them during a game, and the other player(s) will not always be patient and allow you to look around at your leisure. These facilities are available from buttons and links at the start of each map section on the strategy pages.
In early map-based games, back in the mid-90s, the maps were square or rectangular. If you went 'off the edge', you re-entered the map on the opposite side. Sometimes this was true in any direction (eg Settlers), sometimes the North and South 'poles' were blocked (eg Civilisation). Populous3 took the concept further. The map is square, and you can move off the edge in any direction. What was clever was that the designers made the view from your particular position *appear* as though you are standing on a sphere; ie the horizons all bend away from you. This of course means that the player's perception of the square map is seriously distorted, and is why it is sometimes hard to navigate around. I have particular trouble with Dead Sea in that regard. The features on this site are all based on the actual level maps, so they are square. This may be disorientating at first, but you will soon get the hang of it.
Accessed by pressing the map button.
Contour maps are available for all multiplayer Populous and Undiscovered Worlds levels, and for most of the New Worlds levels. These are like the maps you see in atlases, with land at different elevations being coloured differently. For the standard levels, the colours run from green through brown to white as height increases, with blue for the seas. On the New Worlds levels, I have tried to match the colours to the actual colour scheme of the maps concerned. The files are very small (around 8KB) so they download fast.
Accessed by clicking the '3D image' link.
The contour maps are a big improvement over a text description, when trying to work out how a level fits together. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to translate those bands of colour into a mental picture of heights. The 3D views are an attempt to overcome that problem, by showing the maps as they would appear from an angle, so that you can actually see the hills. This is a new initiative, with all the levels being drawn up by |)eath (to whom, many thanks). There are not many on the site yet, but we hope to build up to the full complement soon.
Examples of these views can be seen on the Popoulous 2-player maps here.
Accessed by clicking the 'VRML display' link.
3D views are all very well, but you can't see what's behind the hill, and you can't get in close to have a snoop around. But these virtual reality maps will allow you to fly through the map however you want! They are so cool! You need a VRML plug-in for Internet Explorer in order to view them. I would recommend Blaxxun, which you can download from www.blaxxun.com/services/support/download/install.shtml. This works fast and is less jerky than others I have tried. The interface (as for all VRML viewers) is much less intuitive than the Populous navigation system, but it works once you get the hang of it. Read the helpfile, and right-click in the viewing window to get the menu. Unfortunately the company is bankrupt, so it's not certain how much longer this plug-in will be available. You can however also download it from my site, here. Use the Blaxxun site if it's running though, as their download is interactive, only sending the bits which you need (normally around 1.5MB), whereas my alternative is the full download (about 5.6MB).
An alternative plug-in is Cosmo, which is highly rated, but the Cosmo downloader has been broken (for me anyway) for 6 months, and I haven't found anywhere else to get it from. You can try your luck at www.cai.com/cosmo/html/win95nt.htm.
For an example of a VRML view, check out the Pressure Point map on this page.
Accessed by clicking the 'Gallery' link.
The Populous Worlds are actually very beautiful. If you load the maps into the right software (eg Terragen, 3D Studio Max) you can generate big pictures with realistic terrain, skies, sunsets, the works. I have set up some galleries; |)eath has kicked off with some pics using 3D Studio Max, and I've tried my hand with Terragen. If you would like to submit your own pics, do please! I will of course give you full credit, and if you include a title, and a description of how you did it, it will help others make their own. Make them a standard size (such as 800x600) so that people can use them as wallpaper if they want. For more details, and examples, see the Galleries page.
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Last updated: 17 October 2011