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 fleet will initiate FTL travel when its first ship reaches the edge of a system or bypass, regardless of the current position of other ships.
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.
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 once 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 once an empire obtains the the Wormhole Stabilization technology, that empire's science ships can stabilize wormholes for that empire by right clicking on the wormhole or its system, opening them permanently for them empire. This only allows passage through that wormhole for ships of that empire; other empires must research the tech themselves, and then also "stabilize" that wormhole, before being able to use it. Clicking on a wormhole will shift the camera to the connecting system. Like hyperlanes, 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 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.
Wormhole generation events
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, one end in a system 2-8 hyperlanes away and the other in a system 15-50 hyperlanes away.
|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.
While exploring the galaxy, empires can find abandoned gateways that were once part of a massive, galaxy-spanning network. The number of abandoned gateways can be scaled by galaxy settings. Owning a system with an inactive Gateway drastically increases the chance for the Gateway Activation technology to appear, which is required to reactivate them.
Reactivation of an abandoned gateway takes 2 years and costs 6000 energy and 2500 alloys. When a Gateway is reactivated for the first time in the galaxy, another random Gateway will also reactivate along with it.
Empires can build their own Gateways by researching the Gateway Construction technology, which requires the Empire to have encountered any pre-existing Gateways, so if Gateways were disabled during galaxy creation, it is impossible to build any new.
Each system can only have one Gateway. They can be constructed even in a system with an L-Gate or a wormhole. The construction site must be built outside the system gravity well and is built in 3 years and costs 100 influence and 2500 alloys. Upgrading it into a fully functional Gateway takes 5 years and costs 6000 energy and 2500 alloys.
Gateways can't be used to travel to another Gateway if the latter is owned by an Empire that has closed their border to them. Regular Empires cannot close their borders to Fallen Empires, meaning that their Gateways can always be accessed by the Fallen Empires. 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. Sectors don't extend through gateways. Additionally, gateways are able to greatly enhance and simplify trade infrastructure.
Gateways can't be deactivated or destroyed once they are fully activated or constructed.