This article is for the PC version of Stellaris only.
Faster-than-light travel, often abbreviated to FTL, is the method by which ships traverse the vast emptiness of space between star systems. Advancements in technology can grant improvements to the speed at which ships jump to FTL and even unlock experimental FTL drives.
A hyperlane network predates all other known construction in the galaxy and connects the star systems together to allow interstellar travel, although some systems may be more isolated than others. Ships move at sublight speed until they reach a hyperlane entry point (shown as an arrow on the system map). The Hyperlane Density setting determines the number of hyperlanes individual systems can have. A double value creates a very unrestricted game where interdiction is next to impossible. Conversely, a half value connects the galaxy linearly, with most systems having only two hyperlanes, allowing for a highly defensive game.
Systems that are restricted because of closed borders are shown in red on the galaxy map. Home systems of Space Creatures that haven't been investigated with the initial special project are also restricted.
FTL Inhibitors are devices present inside Fortress buildings and at least Starport level starbases once the FTL Inhibition technology is researched. Hostile fleets can only leave a system with an FTL inhibitor through the same hyperlane they entered from.
The Speculative Hyperlane Breaching technology enables science ships led by a scientist Leader to travel directly to a destination, ignoring the hyperlane network. During the transit the ship is considered MIA. Experimental Subspace Navigation can be used to bypass impassable areas such as a guarded system, a closed empire's borders or the galactic core.
|Available only with the Distant Stars DLC enabled.|
Experimental Subspace Navigation cannot be used to travel to the L-Cluster. It can be used to leave however
There are two types of Bypasses in Stellaris: wormholes and gateways. Both offer instantaneous travel but require research in order to be usable. The number of Bypasses can be adjusted at settings before the start of a game session. Ships will automatically use Bypasses if the route is shorter, shown on the starmap by a blue travel line.
Wormholes are natural formations that come in pairs and link two random systems across the galaxy. Initially, wormholes are too unstable to allow passage through them, but the Wormhole Stabilization technology allows science ships to stabilize wormholes, opening them permanently for a given empire. Clicking on a wormhole will shift the camera to the connecting system. A wormhole cannot be used if the other end lies within an empire with closed borders except if war is declared.
|Available only with the Apocalypse DLC enabled.|
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. There is also a rare anomaly event that creates one
|Available only with the Distant Stars DLC enabled.|
One of the wormholes will always lead to the Sealed System, a trinary system with no hyperlane connection containing a Gaia planet that is guarded by a Corrupted Psionic Avatar. This wormhole will be present in the galaxy even if wormholes have been disabled.
While exploring the galaxy, empires can find abandoned gateways that were once part of a massive, galaxy-spanning network. Reverse-engineered from encountered abandoned gateways, these megastructures require the Gateway Activation technology and can be used to travel directly to any other active gateway in the galaxy. Reactivation of gateway takes 2 years and costs 6 000 energy and 2 500 alloys.
When the first gateway in the galaxy is re-activated, another random gateway will also be re-activated along with it. As opposed to wormholes, both gateways must be owned by the same empire or two empires with open borders in order to be able to travel through them. Gateways of opposing empires are unusable during war, even when the system is occupied. However, systems with gateways count as bordering for the purposes of diplomacy, so every opened gate increases diplomatic tension between all active gate-owners. Claims cannot be extended through gateways. Additionally, gateways are able to greatly enhance and simplify trade infrastructure.
Eventually, empires can build their own gateways by researching the Gateway Construction technology. Notice, that this tech requires having some civilization with an access to pre-existing gateways, so if gateways were disabled during galaxy creation it is impossible to build any new. Each system can have only one gateway, but black hole systems with an L-Gate can also have a regular gateway constructed. Gateways can be built in systems in which there is already a megastructure. The construction site is built in only 3 years and costs 100 influence and 2 500 alloys. Upgrading it to a gateway takes 5 years and costs 6 000 energy and 2 500 alloys.
Some Black Hole systems are home to L-Gates. These heavily modified gateways cannot be activated with the Gateway Activation technology. Upon first encountering one, the L-Cluster entry will be added to the Situation Log, requiring the collection of 7 L-Gate Insights. Insights can be obtained from investigating anomalies, defeating certain enemies, researching the rare L-Gate Insight repeatable Voidcraft technology or asking the Curator Order for an insight every decade (-5000 Energy).
Once 7 L-Gate Insights have been collected, the technology L-Gate Activation will become available for research. The empire will have to own a system with an L-Gate before it can access the L-Cluster. Finally, a special project will be added to activate the L-Gate, taking 180 days for a science ship to open the gate.
Opened L-Gates grant access to the L-Cluster, a cluster of stars located north-east of the galaxy and entirely inaccessible through the regular hyperlane network or experimental subspace navigation and too far for Psi Jump Drive range. The L-Cluster contains a unique Strategic Resource: Nanites. If a ringworld is built inside the L-Cluster, then while its construction will remove the planets in the system and make the original resources unavailable, the uninhabitable sections of the ringworld will contain some of the the resources instead as the habitable sections are completed, sometimes more than there were originally.
Once the first L-Gate is activated one of four things will be found, with the following weights:
|Outcome||Weight||Opens all L-gates|
The outcome is rolled at the start of the game so reloading a previous save will not alter the result.
Up to 10 L-Gates can exist in a galaxy and new ones cannot be constructed. Only one L-Gate is located in the L-Cluster, in the Terminal Egress system, and as a result any L-Gate in the galaxy will connect to the same gate in Terminal Egress but the Terminal Egress gate can be used to travel to any L-Gate inside the galaxy.
An experimental FTL technology that has the potential risk to create a crisis, Jump Drives are an advanced form of FTL that allows ships to move very quickly along hyperlanes and unlock the Jump special fleet order, allowing them to make a point-to-point jump to systems within jump range, ignoring hyperlane limitations. After the fleet makes the jump, Jump Drive will need to recharge, with both adding a 200-day cooldown before it can be used again, and applying a debuff to the fleet that reduces its Damage and Sublight Speed by -50% while the cooldown is in effect.
A more advanced version of the Jump Drive called Psi Jump Drive is also available and offers a longer range for making jumps. It is obtained by researching the Psi Jump Drives technology and is not available to Gestalt Consciousness empires.
Owning both forms of Jump Drive drastically increases the chances of the Extradimensional Invaders crisis triggering.