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. Hyperlane density also affects the Empire Cohesion mechanic, which in turn affects Empire Sprawl.
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.
Ships equipped with Jump Drives or Psi Jump Drives can execute Tactical Jumps. Tactical Jumps allow a ship or fleet to instantly travel to any system within a large range indicated by a yellow dotted circle. After jumping the fleet spends 200 days recharging, during which time it suffers -50% Sublight Speed and Weapons Damage.
Owning both forms of Jump Drive drastically increases the chances of the Extradimensional Invaders crisis triggering.
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.
Rolling subspace tides
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 the said systems however. The rolling subspace tide around the Corrupted Avatar system will recede once the system has been entered at least one via its wormhole.
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 6000 energy and 2500 alloys. The Gateway Activation technology can appear as a research option as soon as a Gateway has been discovered and Hyperspace Slipstreams technology has been researched but the chance is very low. Owning a system with an inactive Gateway increases the chance for the tech to appear by 4 times.
When the first gateway in the galaxy is reactivated, 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. 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 2500 alloys. Upgrading it to a gateway takes 5 years and costs 6000 energy and 2500 alloys.