Okay, let's try this Troubleshooting Thing for Populous:The Beginning in 2019. Let's see if we can update this waaaay better?!...
I'm Using - Windows 10. I cannot play the game directly from GOG, but I can play the game using the "popTB.exe" file. After Windows 10 automatically finds Direct Play and asks if you'd like to install it (for older games). To play the game go to your game files folder. Location on my drive is; Program Files (x86) > Galaxy Client > Games > Populous: The Beginning).
Find the popTB.exe file, right click and go to "Properties" > go to "Compatibility" > click "Change settings for all users" > *Check mark the box, then "Run this program in compatibility mode", then select "Windows XP (Service Pack 3)", and "Run as an administrator", click Apply and/ or Okay, then Right Double-Click the "PopTB.exe" file to run and play the game.
To be clear, this is the more pixelated or earlier version of the game, like Minecraft. I'm not playing this version, because it's totally unacceptable. When I played this at release in and around 1999 I played the better version even then, and that's what I want now. I've acquired this game many times through DL over the years, as recent as 3 years ago and had to alter the game files. Newer PC and using Windows 10 has altered the way to change files, even IF I had the way I changed them before. I did so by doing lots of research via Google Search, however I can't find anything up to date now and that works for me. Soooo, how do we get this alternate version/ file to work? Using the "D3DPopTB.exe" file Version to work that has much better graphics!? There are workaround for EVERYTHING!... Come on you, Brainiacs! Give me some solid, easy to understand facts that will work, for me, and others to come in 2019. And, Thanks, in advance!!!
I've had a similar issue and just tried this, and it seems to work like a charm:
UPDATE: a little bit of skipping as I scroll across the screen, but at least the thing actually now seems to load in D3D mode!