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The most popular method for meeting like-minded players and setting up online games is by using the Populous Reincarnated (PopRe) lobby client. PopRe is a group of Populous fans who have set up a website dedicated to all things Populous, and who have written their own client so that we can carry on playing Populous even after the EA withdrawal. This is a non-commercial venture, so everything is free, and your email address won't get sold to spammers. The entrance to the site is at http://www.strategyplanet.com/populous/home.html so go take a look and browse around - then come back here! To reach all parts of the site, and to use their client, you have to register, which you can do here. They ask for a whole bunch of information, but it is all optional apart from your username, password and email address. Don't give a fake email address, as you will miss special announcements. If you're worried about spam, use a Spam Gourmet address.
There are two additional ways (as at 10 January 2004) in which you can play Populous from a lobby. The first is at www.gamespy.com. If you know Gamespy, you will know its strengths and weaknesses. The main drawback though is that there is rarely anyone there to play with, as everyone is over using the PopRe client! However, if the PopRe client shold go offline for any reason, Gamespy can be used as a fallback, so I have included details below.
The third lobby system is one recently put together by Microfiend. I haven't tried it, and there are no details given, but if you go to http://members.lycos.co.uk/csoft/pop/ you can see a screenshot and can download the zipped files by clicking on 'newircmm.zip' (262K). Unzip them into the defailt Populous folder (normally c:/Program Files/Bullfrog/Populous) and run PopulousMM.exe.
It used to be possible to play Populous on MSN Zoneplay, but that was withdrawn during 2003. (Doncha just love these big corporations :-)
Which one to go with? I would recommend the PopRe client without hesitation, because that is where all the players are, and therefore where you will get the best chance of a game. It is also pretty slick to use - better than Gamespy by far - which is a pretty fine achievement for a fan-based venture. However, I have included details of how to get into Gamespy, and also (for historical interest) the Electronic Arts login procedure. Just follow the links below:
Get the patch.
Even though you may have just taken your copy of Populous out of its shiny new box, it will probably still need to be upgraded to play online. You need to have version 1.01 to play online. To find out if you already have it, start up Populous and when you get to the game menu (after the intro sequences) it will tell you at the bottom left of the screen. If you don't see a version number there, you don't have version 1.01 installed. Unless EA have altered their installation procedure, you will need to upgrade. If you have bought your disk recently, you may have the patch on your CD-ROM, and you will be able to select 'Upgrade to version 1.01' from the autorun menu. Otherwise, you will need to download the upgrade, which you can get still get from the Electronic Arts site here. It is a large download (9.2 megabytes) so be prepared for a long wait if you are on a dial-up connection. If that link is dead (and most of the rest of the EA site is at the moment) you can also get the patch from File Planet here.
Once you have the file on your hard disk, run it (it's not enough just to download it!!!) and follow the instructions. Please don't try to play online without having upgraded. It won't work - it will just crash your computer AND those of the people who are trying to play with you. It's a quick way to get a bad reputation. (If someone asks you 'Are you patched?' they mean 'Are you using the upgraded version?')
Next you need to choose which online lobby system you want to use, either the Populous Reincarnated Lobby Client or Gamespy. Choose one and click on the appropriate link below for details of how to get set up.
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Last updated: 28 April 2004