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This article has been verified for the current PC version (3.6) of the game.

Faster-than-light travel, often abbreviated to FTL, is the method by which ships traverse the vast emptiness of space between star systems. FTL drives are improved with advancing technology, eventually unlocking drives which can "jump", moving from one system to another in an instant.

A fleet will initiate FTL travel when any ship in the fleet reaches the hyperlane jump point or bypass, regardless of the current position of other ships.

Hyperlanes[edit | edit source]

Star systems are connected to one another by hyperlanes, safe passages across interstellar space. A star system can either be part of a cluster – highly interconnected with neighboring systems – or a chokepoint – a system which must be traversed to access the systems on its other side. Hyperlane density, how interconnected star systems are, can be adjusted at game start, from 0.5× to 2.75× or Full. Higher density reduces the number of chokepoint systems and vice versa; at the extreme end, Full attempts to connect every star system with each neighboring system – unless that would cross another existing hyperlane – thereby eliminating nearly all chokepoints.

The hyperlane network through the galaxy is not initially visible and must be discovered. Ship, starbase, and planetary sensors detect and reveal hyperlanes during exploration, with the the hyperlane detection range typically twice the regular sensor range. Hyperlanes connecting to unexplored systems are colored pale gray on the galaxy map. Hyperlanes between explored systems are colored light blue, unless the system is owned by an empire with closed borders, then the hyperlane is colored red.

Distances between systems in the galaxy are typically measured in terms of hyperlane connections. The main exceptions are Tactical Jumps and Quantum Catapults, which used a direct distance scale instead.

Hyperlane travel[edit | edit source]

All ships, unless manually designed otherwise, will have an FTL drive, which allows them to travel along hyperlanes. Within a star system, ships move at sublight speed until they reach a hyperlane entry point (shown as an arrow on the system map). Once at the entry point, the ship or fleet takes 15 days to charge its hyper drive and then travels along the hyperlane to the connected system. More advanced FTL drives have reduced windup times. In addition to regular hyperlane travel, Jump Drives or Psy Jump Drives also allow ships or fleets to perform Tactical Jumps. However, merely researching these technologies risks accelerating the endgame crisis by 25 years.

FTL Inhibitors[edit | edit source]

FTL magnet.png FTL Inhibitors are devices present inside Fortress buildings and upgraded starbases once the Tech aura snare.png FTL Inhibition technology is researched. Hostile fleets can only leave a system with an FTL inhibitor through the same hyperlane they entered from. Starbase FTL inhibitors are disabled by disabling and capturing the starbase, while Fortress FTL inhibitors can be disabled either by occupying the planet or by causing at least Devastation.png 50% devastation to the planet with the Fortress. A system with multiple planets or habitats, each with a Fortress and a Planetary Shield Generator, can thus be a very effective method of blocking hostile fleets from traversing a strategic chokepoint system.

Hyper Relays[edit | edit source]

Hyper Relays can be constructed once the Hyper Relays Hyper Relays technology is researched and allow ships to jump to Hyper Relays in adjacent systems instead of using the existing hyperlane connections, thereby avoiding having to traverse systems at sublight speeds. They are constructed directly in a single stage, taking one year and costing Influence.png 25 influence, Alloys.png 500 alloys, and Rare crystals.png 100 rare crystals. Hyper Relay links are shown on the galaxy map as a thicker hyperlane. Potential (inactive) links are shown as yellow connections on the galaxy map. A link may be inactive because of closed borders, war, or if the relay is ruined. A ruined Hyper Relay can be restored for Energy.png 500 energy, Alloys.png 500 alloys, and Rare crystals.png 100 rare crystals, taking 6 months to complete.

Hyper Relays can grant additional effects based on Menu icon edicts.png edicts and subject specializations. Hyper Relay edicts require the empire's capital system to be part of the network, while the benefits granted by subject specializations require a connection between the overlord's capital and the subject's capital. Subjects do not benefit from their overlord's network effects.

Hyper Relays can be built from the galaxy view, and will be placed semi-randomly within the system. In systems with wormholes or existing gateways, it is recommended to go into the system view to manually place the Hyper Relay near to the wormhole or gateway to better facilitate travel. However, Hyper Relays cannot connect through wormholes or gateways.

Direct FTL Travel[edit | edit source]

While hyperlane travel is the primary method of traversing the galaxy, there are a few ways to travel between two points more directly.

Tactical Jump[edit | edit source]

Ships equipped with a Ship part jump drive 1.png Jump Drive or Ship part psi jump drive 1.png Psi Jump Drive can execute a Tactical Jump. Tactical jumps allow a ship or fleet to instantly travel to any system within the range indicated by a yellow dashed circle. All ships in a fleet must be equipped with a Jump Drive or Psi Jump Drive for the fleet to perform a tactical jump. After jumping, the fleet spends Time 200 days recharging, during which time it suffers −50% Mod ship speed mult.png sublight speed and Mod ship weapon damage.png weapons damage.

Quantum Catapult[edit | edit source]

The Quantum Catapult megastructure can launch fleets across vast distances, up to 5 times the distance possible with Jump Drives; however, there is a chance that the fleet will arrive in a nearby system rather than the target destination. If a fleet arrives in a system with closed borders, it will immediately go MIA. Quantum Catapult Quantum Catapult technology is required to launch fleets.

Experimental Subspace Navigation[edit | edit source]

The Tech experimental subspace navigation.png Speculative Hyperlane Breaching technology enables science ships led by a Scientist.png scientist to travel directly to a destination, ignoring the hyperlane network. During the transit, the ship is considered MIA and cannot be interacted with. Experimental Subspace Navigation can be used to bypass impassable systems, such as those with hostile space creatures, a closed empire's borders, or the galactic core.

Rolling subspace tides[edit | edit source]

The L-Cluster as well as the system housing the Corrupted Avatar guardian cannot be entered via either Experimental Subspace Navigation or Tactical Jumps and attempting to do so will show a notification about rolling subspace tides allowing only conventional travel. Both Experimental Subspace Navigation and Tactical Jumps can be used to leave these systems however. Furthermore, the rolling subspace tide around the Corrupted Avatar system recedes once the system has been entered at least once via its wormhole.

Bypasses[edit | edit source]

Humanoid Empire using a wormhole

Bypasses are another alternative to hyperlane travel. There are two basic types of bypasses in Stellaris: wormholes and gateways. Both offer instantaneous travel but require research in order to be usable. The number of wormholes and gateways can be adjusted individually in the settings before the start of a game session. Ships and trade automatically use bypasses – if the route is shorter. Fleet paths through a bypass are shown on the galaxy view by a blue travel line. Inactive bypasses are shown with a red icon in the system and galaxy view, while active bypasses have a white icon. Active bypasses act identically to hyperlanes for most purposes, except that sectors never extend through them.

Wormholes[edit | edit source]

Wormholes are natural formations that come in pairs, with each pair linking two systems across the galaxy regardless of distance. Each pair of wormholes must be "explored" by a science ship before it can be used by an empire. Exploring a wormhole requires the Tech wormhole stabilization.png Wormhole Stabilization technology and is done by right clicking on the wormhole in system view or its system in galaxy view and selecting "explore wormhole". This only activates that wormhole pair for that empire; other empires must explore the wormhole pair themselves before being able to use it. Clicking on a wormhole will shift the camera to the connecting system.

One of the wormholes will always lead to the Sealed System, a trinary system with no hyperlane connection containing a Planet gaia.png Gaia world that is guarded by a Corrupted Psionic Avatar. This wormhole will be present in the galaxy even if wormholes have been disabled.

Shroud Tunnel[edit | edit source]

A Shroud Tunnel is a special wormhole created by building a Sb shroud beacon.png Shroud Beacon, which can only be constructed once per empire by empires that reached an agreement with the Enclaves flag shroudwalkers.png Shroud-Touched Coven enclave or have the Origins teachers of the shroud.png Teachers of the Shroud origin. It costs Alloys.png 500 alloys, Rare crystals.png 25 rare crystals to build and has an upkeep of Energy.png 3 energy; it cannot be built in systems that already have a wormhole.

Shroud Tunnels work similarly to L-Gates, as each Shroud Tunnel connects to the Shroud-Touched Coven system with the Shroud Tunnel nexus, which then connects to all other Shroud Tunnels. If the Shroud Beacon is dismantled, fleets will no longer be able to use the tunnel in that system until it is rebuilt. Empires that have purchased and built a Shroud Beacon or have researched Tech psionic theory.png Psionic Theory can use any Shroud Tunnel, as long as they have access to the destination.

Each time a fleet travels through the Shroud Tunnel, the following may happen:

  • 74% chance nothing happens.
  • 10% chance a leader changes appearance and gains 200 experience. Xenophobe.pngFanatic Xenophobe.png Xenophobe and Gestalt consciousness.png Gestalt Consciousness empires have the option to dismiss the leader for a small amount of Society research Society Research.
  • 10% chance a leader gains the Adaptive.png Adaptive, Leader trait carefree.png Carefree, Leader trait meticulous.png Meticulous, Leader trait paranoid.png Paranoid, or Leader trait stubborn.png Stubborn trait.
  • 5% chance the fleet is randomly enhanced.
  • 1% chance a Corrupted Avatar guardian attacks the Shroud Beacon system.

Wormhole generation events[edit | edit source]

The Alien Machine event can be triggered by investigating an anomaly with the same name that can appear on asteroids. One of the two event options will lead to the creation of a new wormhole pair, with one end in a system 2-8 hyperlanes away and the other in a system 15-50 hyperlanes away.

If Earth is destroyed with a World Cracker, there is a 50% chance of creating a wormhole in the system leading to another newly created wormhole.

Gateways[edit | edit source]

Real scale of a Gateway
Real scale of a Hyper Relay

While exploring the galaxy, empires may find abandoned gateways that were once part of a massive, galaxy-spanning network. The number of abandoned gateways can be scaled by galaxy settings.[1]

Once an abandoned gateway is discovered, the Tech gateway activation.png Gateway Activation technology will always have a chance to appear, which allows abandoned gateways to be repaired. Repairing an abandoned gateway takes 2 years and costs Energy.png 6000 energy and Alloys.png 2500 alloys. When a gateway is reactivated for the first time in the galaxy, another random gateway will also reactivate along with it.

Once the Tech gateway activation.png Gateway Activation technology is researched, the Tech gateway construction.png Gateway Construction technology will always have a chance to appear, which allows new gateways to be constructed. The construction site is built in 3 years and costs Influence.png 75 influence and Alloys.png 2500 alloys. Upgrading it into a fully functional Gateway takes 3 years and costs Energy.png 6000 energy and Alloys.png 2500 alloys.

Gateways allow travel to any other gateway instantly, so long as the borders are open and the destination is not controlled by an enemy empire. As a bypass, Gateways generally act like a hyperlane connection between systems, such that claims and trade can be extended through them, however sectors don't extend through gateways.

L-Gates are a special type of gateway, which have a separate network from regular gateways. Instead of jumping from any to any, L-Gates all jump to the Terminal Egress system in the L-Cluster, then from there to any other L-Gate so long as its borders are open, or you are at war. L-Gates are opened through a special project, and new L-Gates cannot be constructed.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Setting abandoned gateways to 0 will block the use of gateway technology as an empire must discover at least one gateway to unlock the research. The Galactic Doorstep origin will still spawn a pair of abandoned gateways if the setting is otherwise 0.
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