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 Strongholds, Fortresses 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 and from the L-Cluster.
There are two types of portals in Stellaris: wormholes and gateways. Both offer instantaneous travel but require research in order to be usable. The number of portals can be adjusted at settings before the start of a game session. Ships will automatically use portals 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. Clicking on a wormhole will shift the camera to the connecting system. Unlike Gateways an empire does not need to control both sides of a wormhole to travel through it.
|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.
|Available only with the Distant Stars DLC enabled.|
One of the wormholes will always leads 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 10 000 energy and 5 000 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.
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 5 000 alloys. Upgrading it to a gateway takes 5 years and costs 10 000 energy and 5 000 alloys.
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.