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Reticulating splines

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Reticulating Splines (including many derivative forms) is a phrase included in many Maxis games (or their non-Maxis successors), including SimCity (SimCity 2000 and later), SimCopter, The Sims, The Sims 2 and The Sims 3. The phrase is most often shown in text while on a load screen, though in its first appearance, in SimCity 2000, it was spoken by a female voice. The term has become a somewhat well known in-joke and reference to SimCity or Maxis games in general.

The words 'reticulate' and 'spline' both have dictionary definitions, which has led several people to determine a meaning for the phrase, such as "to make a network of curved elements." However, Will Wright stated in an interview that the term itself is meaningless, as SimCity 2000 does not reticulate splines when generating terrain; the phrase was included in the game because it "sounded cool." It has since been included in many Maxis games, mostly for humor, much like the references to llamas in multiple games.

Usage outside of Maxis gamesEdit

The phrase has since been featured in multiple other computer programs or websites, including:

  • At the point of check-out, when purchasing items from the Cards Against Humanity online store
  • Mozy, a data backup program
  • Khan Academy, an educational website
  • Udacity, an educational website
  • As a splash screen on Minecraft, a first-person sandbox game
  • While loading graph data on Google's Project Fi
  • While loading lists in project management tracking software Asana
  • Sporcle, a quiz website
  • At the end of the Ubuntu installation process
  • Hacknet, shown while first starting a game.
  • In the logfiles of OpenREPOSE Webfront end servers
  • While loading in social media app Timehop
  • While compiling Firefox (or Thunderbird) from source.
  • While loading the User Guide on a PlayStation 4 console.
  • Loading screens of Dead Space 3
  • In an article by Martin Fowler, on the concept of Feature Toggles in software development.
  • Chip's Challenge 2 as the title of Level 43.
  • As text on loading screens on Two Dots
  • When uploading products using WooCommerce CSV Import
  • While compiling Cyanogenmod from source.
  • At the end of Docker Machine creation process
  • Videostream for Chromecast has it as a loading text
  • While loading a table in Roll20
  • While loading past social media content in the mobile app Timehop
  • While loading levels during the mobile game Two Dots [twodots.mobile]
  • The creative team behind PBS Idea Channel were referred to as "reticulated splines" during the credit sequence of their episode on The Sims
  • The loading text on Wusoup

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