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Sid Meier's Civilization III

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Sid Meier's Civilization III
Sid Meier's Civilization III cover
Firaxis Games
Conquests expansion BreakAway Games
Mac OS (Classic) Westlake Interactive
macOS (OS X) Westlake Interactive
2001-2003 Infogrames
2003-2005 Atari
2005-present 2K Games
Re-release Sold Out Software
Mac OS Aspyr Media
macOS (OS X) Aspyr Media
Release dates
Windows October 30, 2001
Mac OS (Classic) October 30, 2001
macOS (OS X) January 12, 2006
Metacritic 90
Monetization One-time game purchase, Expansion pack
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Turn-based
Perspectives Bird's-eye view, Isometric
Controls Point and select
Genres 4X, TBS
Themes Historical
Series Civilization
Sid Meier's Civilization III on HowLongToBeat
Sid Meier's Civilization III on IGDB
Sid Meier's Civilization III guide on StrategyWiki
Sid Meier's Civilization III on MobyGames
Sid Meier's Civilization III on Wikipedia
Sid Meier's Civilization 1991
Freeciv (unofficial) 1996
Sid Meier's Civilization II 1996
Civilization II: Test of Time 1999
Sid Meier's Civilization III 2001
Sid Meier's Civilization IV 2005
CivCity: Rome 2006
Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization 2008
Sid Meier's Civilization V 2010
Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth 2014
Sid Meier's Civilization VI 2016
Sid Meier's Civilization VII 2025


GameSpy online services have been shut down (see Network for solutions).

Sid Meier's Civilization III is a singleplayer and multiplayer bird's-eye view and isometric 4X and TBS game in the Civilization series.

The game received two expansion packs: Play the World in October 2002, and Conquests in November 2003. Play the World was the first iteration of the game which included multiplayer, while Conquests includes the former on its disc. Both expansions included a range of new units, game modes and scenarios. They were combined with the base game in the Complete edition as of September 2004, and this compilation is the only version of the games available on digital stores; however, in the mentioned digital releases, only the Conquests executable is present.

On March 16, 2015, the Steam release was updated to replace the GameSpy multiplayer infrastructure with that of Steamworks,[1] but aside from removing LAN, the game has had reports of lower stability compared to prior releases.[2]

Unofficial patches exist to resolve the game's inherent bugs. An audio glitch has been reported which mutes audio in the diplomacy screen (often with a garbled noise preceding it), which can be resolved by using IndirectSound to fix the underlying cause.

General information

Civilization Wiki - A detailed wiki for all Civilization games and their spin offs
Apolyton Civilization Site's Civ III section - A huge forum dedicated to all Civilization games and their spin offs. Modifications for the game can be found here
Civilization Fanatics Center's Civilization III Page Community Discussions for game series Support Page
Steam Community Discussions


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
SecuROM 4 DRM for North America. SafeDisc 2 DRM[Note 1] for Europe.
Applies for the base game and the "Conquests" expansion.
"Play the World" expansion uses SecuROM 4 DRM for all regions.
Mac OS
Gamesplanet logo.svg
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Green Man Gaming
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GamersGate (unavailable)
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SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows Vista and later (see above for affected versions).

Version differences

The Game of the Year Edition contains the base game with a bonus CD containing additional maps and behind-the-scenes videos.
The Gold Edition contains the base game and Play The World.
Civilization III Complete is a complete version with both expansion packs.
Digital releases omit the executables for the base game and Play the World, leaving only the Conquests executable with a Complete-themed menu and icon. The base game and Play the World can, however, be played by including no-CD versions of their respective fully patched executables, as no other assets are missing.

Trial version

A free trial version of the Gold Edition is available from GameFront.


Type Notes
Expansion pack Expansion packs include multiple civilizations, scenarios, and secondary game modes. Unlike the base game, they include multiplayer support.
One-time game purchase The game requires an upfront purchase to access.

DLC and expansion packs

Name Notes
Play the World
Conquests Contains all content from Play the World.

Essential improvements


v1.29f (base game), v1.27f (Play the World), v1.22 (Conquests) are available here.
Patch v1.22 Rev A is the latest patch for the OS X version.[5]


C3X - multiple bugfixes and QoL improvements to v1.22 Conquests (tested only with digital versions). Later versions use changes from Antal's patch framework as well.
Fitted Irrigation with Farm Houses - makes irrigation look more natural and not jut out into the water.
River Deltas - covers up the problem where some deltas are too far out to sea and others are too recessed
Fixed Transport Window Leftovers - fixes left over artifacts from the transport window

Skip intro videos

Edit configuration file[6]
  1. Open the configuration file.
  2. Add the following line at the end of the file: PlayIntro=0.
  3. Save the changes.

Game data

Configuration file(s) location

The configuration file is generated only after the first time the game is started.
System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\Civilization3.ini
[Note 2]
Mac OS (Classic)
macOS (OS X)
Steam Play (Linux) <SteamLibrary-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/3910/pfx/[Note 3]

Save game data location

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\Saves
[Note 2]
Mac OS (Classic)
macOS (OS X)
Steam Play (Linux) <SteamLibrary-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/3910/pfx/[Note 3]

Save game cloud syncing

System Native Notes
GOG Galaxy
Steam Cloud


In-game options menu.
In-game options menu.

Widescreen resolution

Set KeepRes mode[7]
  1. Open the configuration file.
  2. Add the line KeepRes=1
  3. Save the changes. The game will now run at the desktop resolution as borderless fullscreen.


Set windowed mode[8]
  1. Open the configuration file.
  2. Add the line KeepRes=1
  3. Add the line Video Mode=1152
  4. Save the changes.
Video Mode is the horizontal window size, with the vertical height calculated based on the 4:3 aspect ratio, unless 1280 is entered, in which case it will use the 5:4 aspect ratio for 1280x1024.
The game window will have no border.
The game area can not be resized after the game is launched - doing so causes graphic corruption and may crash the game.


Keyboard and mouse State Notes
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Mouse acceleration
Uses OS cursor.
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support
Controller types


Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
No spoken text.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
Royalty free audio


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Retail only; download for digital versions.
Retail only; download for digital versions
Fan translation, link #1, link #2.
Retail only.
Retail only.
Retail only, download.


Either expansion pack is required, as the base game does not have multiplayer support.

Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
Local play
8 Hot seat
LAN play
8 Versus
Removed from Steam version after the Steamworks update.
Online play
8 Versus
The official GameSpy service has been shut down; Steam version has been updated with Steamworks support.[9][10]
Asynchronous multiplayer
Simultaneous turns, "turnless" mode (default), play-by-email (PBEM).

Connection types

Type Native Notes
Direct IP
Removed from the Steam version.[9]


Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP 3783, 6500, 6667, 28900, 29900, 29901
UDP 2302-2400, 6500, 6515, 13139, 27900
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) support status is unknown.

Issues fixed

Compatibility settings for Steam version

Run the game in compatibility mode for Windows XP SP2.[citation needed]

No music or sound effects during diplomacy

This is an error caused by a Windows 10 update limiting sound to two channels.
The diplomacy screen may at times be preceded by a brief garbled noise.
Install IndirectSound[11][12]
  1. Download and extract IndirectSound.
  2. Copy the two files, dsound.dll and dsound.ini.
  3. Paste into <path-to-game>, <path-to-game>\Civ3PTW, <path-to-game>\Conquests.

Other information


Technical specs Supported Notes
OpenGL 1
ExecutablePPC16-bit 32-bit 64-bit Notes
macOS (OS X)
Install the version 1.22 Rev A patch for Intel support.
Mac OS (Classic)


Middleware Notes
Audio Miles Sound System
Cutscenes Bink Video
Multiplayer GameSpy Removed in Steam update.

System requirements

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 98
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium II 400 MHz
System memory (RAM) 32 MB (base game), 128 MB (Conquests)
Hard disk drive (HDD) 1.8 GB
Video card (GPU) DirectX 8.0a (base game), 9.0b (Conquests) compatible


  1. SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows 10[3] or Windows 11 and is disabled by default on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 when the KB3086255 update is installed.[4]
  2. 2.0 2.1 When running this game without elevated privileges (Run as administrator option), write operations against a location below %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMDATA%, or %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore on Windows Vista and later (more details).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Notes regarding Steam Play (Linux) data: