Space Cruiser is an interactive video game designed specifically for fulldome projection in planetariums and collaborative play inside a planetarium dome. A first of its kind, it premiered on January 26th, 2012 in the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History and featured a live soundtrack by Greg Fox and narration by Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields.
Space Cruiser uses a combination of physical flight controls installed in the middle of the planetarium dome together with a fulldome projection of the playing environment to immerse players in the experience of piloting a spaceship through deep-space scenarios from a first-person perspective.
Players must work collaboratively to control the ship by using 4 separate physical flight controls, each responsible for one aspect of the ship's movement (3 degrees of rotation and thrust) and avoid crashing into asteroids while they make their way to the destination (a warp gate, which takes them to the next level). Each level is procedurally generated, with random backgrounds and randomly placed asteroids providing a new playing experience in each level.
If the players hit an asteroid, the ship stalls and one of the participants (often someone from the audience) must go and "fix" the damaged part of the ship by pressing one of the buttons installed on the edge of the planetarium dome. This mechanic, along with the inherent difficulty of keeping track of asteroids in all directions, engages the audience and invites those who are not directly flying the ship to participate in the game.