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Faster-Than-Light Travel in video games.


  • Anachronox had "Senders", mysterious structures built by Precursors that resembled spheres with spikes growing out of them. Upon approaching a "spike", a ship would be instantly transported to a spike on some other Sender. Since there was no way of knowing where a Sender spike would send things without actually using it, and the other Sender could be literally anywhere (including inside a sun), there were people whose job consisted of exploring unexplored spikes.
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  • The world of Analogue A Hate Story is strongly implied to have this, but the spaceship you're investigating was built before FTL travel was available. Therefore, it was designed to accommodate a colony of humans for the hundreds of years it would take to reach their destination.
  • Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator gives a choice between warp and jump drive. Warp drive can be simply turned on and off for high speed at high power cost, while jump requires the science officer to give coordinates but is instantaneous after a short charge time.
  • Ascendancy has only one method of travel: using "starlanes", although only ships equipped with starlane drives may use them. The nodes for entering starlanes are normally blue, but there are also so-called "red links" which are usually longer but are also much slower. The rule of thumb is, the more starlane drives your ship has, the faster it moves. There is a one-shot device for sending any ship in a given starlane to its destination instantaneously, but there is nothing stopping you from building a dedicated ship with a number of these devices onboard that it uses to create an insterstellar highway of sorts and a dry-dock in the system to refit it when it runs out. This can be a bit of a Game-Breaker, though.
    • There are actually two such devices. One is, basically, an instantaneous version of the stalane drive that sends the ship equipped with it through either a normal starlane or a red link without "starlane drag", which the game explains is what prevents instantaneous FTL travel. The device burns out after one use, though. The other device works on any ship currently in a given starlane (including enemy heading for your system).
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    • There is also a "recall" device (which can be used multiple times), which instantly transports the ship to your home system. Handy if your space is invaded while your ships are too far away to help.
  • Asura's Wrath: In the Grand Finale, Asura in his massively huge, larger than a planet destructor form can fly so fast he passes by entire solar systems in a manner of mere seconds on his way to the final boss, without needing any sort of warp drive.
  • Ah, what fools we have been. All this time searching for a way to achieve, when Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing reveals that all you need is to shift into reverse and never let off the gas pedal. Even more ridiculous is that once you do release the throttle, you immediately go back from gods-know-how-fast-you-were-going to zero.
  • Browser-based game The Breach has the SW-JUMP starship, a new experimental ship that uses the Hyperdrive variety of FTL travel. After its maiden voyage, it arrives eerily silent, and the game protagonist goes in to investigate. Turns out the dimension it jumped into was not quite empty...
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  • Humanity has invented FTL travel by the time of Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare. However it was somewhat out of necessity as the resources on Earth had dwindled to a dangerous level, forcing humans to colonize other parts of the Solar System in an effort to find sustainable fuel.
  • Colony Wars used jump drives in conjunction with a Portal Network. Individual ships could open their own "jump gates" which had a maximum reliable range of around 100 million km (1 au equals 150 million km). Interstellar travel used "battle platforms", massive space stations that would open "warp gates" that connected to another linked gate in the destination system.
  • Conquest: Frontier Wars originally just has stationary wormholes to travel between systems, but then they somebody starts making artificial wormholes and things get a bit complicated.
  • Dead Space has this role filled by the "shockpoint" engine. In a classic application of this trope, the drive itself is just a means to an end, and we don't get much explanation for how it works. Dead Space starts off mid-transit through a grey foggy energy medium, implying it functions similarly to an Alcubierre drive.
  • Elite has the Frame Shift Drive, which can instantaneous launch a ship through witchspace to nearby stars of sufficient mass. Elite: Dangerous adds a free-flight "Supercruise" mode for superluminal inter-planetary travel that is affected by the current gravity gradient; stray too close to a massive body at high speed and your drive will violently disengage, ripping you back into realspace and sending you into a wild spin in the process.
  • Endless Space starts out with all interstellar travel limited to Hyperspace Lanes. Later, research allows for ships to go "off-road", although this method is significantly slower. Wormholes are initially inaccessible, but research can enable their use.
  • The Evochron series relies on Jump Drives and a Portal Network. All ships mount Fulcrum Drives, which let them teleport around - though the device cause your ship to accelerate to extreme velocity before jumping, preventing its use around planets and some nebula. The Fulcrum Gates and natural wormholes are used to get between star systems, and work essentially like giant, stationary Fulcrum Drives. Unlike many other series, it's possible to deadhead towards star systems, either using only your ship's rockets, or by dozens to thousands of automated fulcrum jumps; this method is needed to reach certain star systems, and the hidden/secret systems.
  • The Escape Velocity games use "hyperspace jumps". It's never explained directly how they work, but for gameplay purposes it takes between 1 and 3 days to get to the next star system depending on how massive your ship is. FTL travel is also limited to predetermined Hyperlinks.
  • EVE Online's system is... complex, to say the least. There are multiple methods used, and each is meant for different circumstances:
    • The first method players encounter is warp drive for intra-system travel, which is measured in AUs/second (and considering that one AU is roughly equivalent to eight light-minutes, going at one AU a second is still FTL). Issues include the fact that warp drive is fairly slow, it can be jammed by all sorts of methods (including natural phenomena in Deadspace complexes), and the fact that it can take some time to align for the warp, during which you are vulnerable.
      • Acceleration gates are used to "slingshot" ships at warp speeds inside Deadspace complexes.
      • Warp drives are stated by in-universe "science articles" to require a gravitational field to lock onto, such as a planet, moon, or an artificial beacon generated by a station.
    • Stargates are the main method of travel between systems (heavily implied to use wormholes in some way). On the plus side, they are free, they are stationary, and they are predictable. On the downside, most capital ships are too large to use them, they are stationary, and they are predictable.
      • In-universe "scientific" article states directly that they create wormholes; however, to jump to a system it must be linked to the existing stargate network; basically, somebody has to get sent in a ship there, at sublight speeds to boot due to the aforementioned fact that Warp drives need a gravitational signature to lock onto and thus don't work in interstellar space because gravitational signatures are too weak.
    • The alternatives to stargates are jump drives and jump portals. Jump drives allow large ships (usually capital ships too large for stargates) to travel to an existing beacon generated by a player, while jump portals create short-lived artificial wormholes to another point in space. Both systems have limited range, require fuel to use, take up fitting space that could be used for other modules, and the beacons required are visible on the overview and galaxy map, providing a big warning that there's a fleet and/or capital ships incoming.
    • The newest addition, naturally-occurring wormholes are the fastest and longest-range method of FTL in the game (in the backstory, one allowed travel between the Milky Way and New Eden galaxies), but they are also the most unstable and most unpredictable method in the game. In addition, they have a nasty habit of collapsing as you go through them, leaving you stranded in some unknown system unless you have a probe launcher fitted to find a new wormhole. Even then, there's a chance that the new wormhole will take you deeper into the rabbit hole instead of back to the New Eden cluster.
  • Evolve has Cherenkov space, an alternate dimension ships equipped with Patterson drives can "dive" into, though reemerging requires a connection to a dive anchor in realspace. While this was little more than background lore initially, it ends up being important, as it's revealed that the human dimension isn't the only one connected to Cherenkov space, and the monsters use it as a stepping stone to get from their dimension to the humans'.
  • In Freelancer inter-system travel is commonly achieved by use of stable, static portals called Jump Gates that are heavily policed by the military. For those who are smuggling drugs or weapons (as you so often do with the game's rich economy system) you can use naturally forming (but supposedly less stable) Jump Holes. The travel is extremely fast, but there's still a time lag between systems.
    • The intro shows the five Alliance colony ships using FTL drives to get to the Sirius sector. It's never stated how long it took them to get there, although most colonists were placed in suspended animation. Since jump gates aren't big enough for cruisers and battleships, it's implied that those have their own jump drives.
    • Interplanetary transit in heavily populated systems is also sped up by an artificial Portal Network of Trade Lanes, consisting of linked gates that effectively form a sort of 'highway' between points of interest in a system. These are again too small for capital ships to use, but anything else can use them to cross systems extremely quickly. It's somewhat difficult to judge due to the game having a rather severe case of Units Not to Scale.
  • Descent: FreeSpace and FreeSpace 2 had a system of "jump nodes" between star systems. Inter-system jump drives are almost exclusive to larger (cruiser/corvette/destroyer/superdestroyer) ships, although you do get to pilot fighters with them once or twice. All spaceworthy vessels (including fighters) can make in-system jumps, which are used to return to base at the end of each mission. The intersystem jump nodes are mostly fixed and immutable, although at the end of Freespace it is discovered that a large explosion within subspace will collapse the link, making it impossible to travel through it again. At the end of Freespace, the only jump node in the Sol system is thusly collapsed, isolating Earth from the rest of the galaxy and giving the game a Downer Ending. In Freespace 2, an ancient device which can artificially create stabilize jump nodes is discovered; the ending cutscene implies that this technology is eventually used to restore the collapsed Sol jump node.
    • The actual, specific workings of subspace are sometimes important to the plot. For example, subspace is "n-dimensional," meaning it has infinite dimensions, and you can't actually follow a ship through an inter-system node, as you would be traveling in a different dimension and it wouldn't be visible until both ships are on the other side. Sufficiently Advanced Aliens learned how to do this tracking, however, and recovering this technology is a minor story arc in the first game, where it becomes necessary to engage a destroyer while inside subspace.
    • There's also the issue of "stability". The jump nodes used in the games are very stable and are expected to last a very long time. There are other, unstable jump nodes not on the map because they cannot be safely traversed. Oh, wait, except the Shivans, with their more advanced drives, can traverse these nodes reliably, which allows them to simply go around blockades several times throughout the story.
    • Subspace interferes with Shivan shield technology, preventing it from working at all while in subspace. Given that the Shivans are ridiculously old with technology to match, as well as an evolved sensitivity to subspace itself, the fact that they've been unable to circumvent this is rather telling.
    • Finally, the usual detail of gravity being a factor is played with; subspace travel works because of gravity, inter-system nodes go where they go because of the specific relationship of gravity between the two stars in question and subspace itself. In-system jumps, meanwhile, are only possible so long as the entry and exit points are both close enough to the same star's gravity well. It's actually the absence of gravity that causes a problem; subspace travel won't work in deep space.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light has Faster-Than-Light Travel, which makes the ships go faster than light, effectively jumping from location to location.
  • Galactic Civilizations: the original, pre-game FTL travel system involved gigantic, connected gates: you enter one gate and exit through the other relatively fast. The problem was that in order to reach your intended destination, you first had to send a gate to it. In normal space, at sub-light speeds. Pain in the ass to say the least — the Drengin had to wait for 50,000 years for the gate they had sent to the Arceans to arrive before they could launch their (failed) invasion. Eventually the Arceans sent a gate right next to Earth, possibly with invasion intents as well since it was 1) only one way and 2) couldn't be shut off should we have turned it on. So we didn't. However, humanity managed to reverse-engineer the device and create a portable version of it: Hyperdrive, which "folds space in front of the ship using it."
    • Unfortunately, after humanity develops the hyperdrive, some idealistic idiot broadcasts the plans to every other race in the galaxy. So instead of humans spreading out into space virtually unopposed, they have to contend with other races (who have long ago mapped out all stars using sublight probes) also seeking to expand their empires.
    • The reason humans were able to build the hyperdrive was because we had perfected fusion technology, while all the other races were still stuck at fission. This allows humans to miniaturize the technology in the hypergate to fit even a small ship.
    • You can research more advanced drives that feature different names (e.g. impulse, warp, hyperwarp). However, the game eventually admits that those are, effectively, marketing names for a slightly-better version of the same. The ultimate drive technology is claimed to work on an entirely different principle and would allow you to instantaneously travel anywhere in the universe... if you had infinite energy. Since you don't, it works like a slightly-better drive than the one before.
  • Gradius Gaiden's manual-exclusive ship specs show that the four player ships have a top speed of five times the speed of light. Though, the only time we see this property being demonstrated is in Stage 7, the volcano black hole stage, where the entire stage, enemies, and enemy projectiles are being sucked in, while your ship flies through with no problems other than a shaking animation.
  • This occurs in the classic arcade game Gyruss. When a stage is completed, the player's ship "warps" to the next stage.
  • Haegemonia: Legions of Iron uses naturally-occurring wormholes for interstellar travel. However, it is possible to develop wormhole probes that allow any ship to jump to the probe from any system by creating an instant wormhole.
  • In Halo, all FTL travel has to go through slipstream space:
    • For humans, it is nowhere near instantaneous, as their tech can only muster a pathetic 2.6 light-years per day, and is quite inaccurate, as ships can wind up hundreds of kilometers away from their target. In 2525, it took weeks for a human vessel to travel from one system to another, and months to cross the breadth of human-controlled space, limited to the Orion spur of the Milky Way galaxy. Additionally, the humans lack the abstract science to initiate a slipstream jump near any substantial gravity well - i.e. a planet - without destroying their vehicle in the process. In Expanded Universe media set early in the Covenant War, cruisers fly from system to system with the information stored on them, described as being the 26th century Fictional Counterpart to the Pony Express.
    • Covenant craft however are much more accurate and much faster, achieving 912 light-years per day and being able initiate a slipstream jump inside a planetary atmosphere - much to the great distress of the puny humans. Even more impressive is their BattleNET, allowing instantaneous - if unsecured - superluminal communications across stellar distances. However, when they exit slipspace, Covenant vessels experience a brief period of time where they are bereft of shields and weapons - the only time they are truly vulnerable to the humans in space combat.
    • Because Science Marches On even while your species is undergoing genocide, humanity's mastery of FTL travel (and communication) at the end of the war is at least as good as the Covenant's, due to the capture and study of Covenant and Forerunner relics. Humanity's newest ships appear capable of roaming their corner of the galaxy very quickly, and leaving slipspace wherever they please. That said, most human ships still use older and slower slipspace drives.
    • The Forerunners had fabricated an even more refined system of slipstream travel. In addition to the staggering 2,300 light-years per day during transit, the Forerunners maintained a galaxy-wide network of slipstream portals, streamlining space travel; for example, the portal connecting Earth to The Ark is a 234,144-lightyear journey made in only 24 days, working out to approx. 9700 light-years per day. They also used slipstream for other purposes besides space travel, such as storing a full-sized dyson sphere measuring 2 AU - three hundred million kilometers, twice the distance of the Sun from the Earth - in a quantum slipstream bubble barely a few centimeters across, itself buried in the heart of another dyson sphere.
  • Homeworld uses hyperspace drives, which seem to be essentially "magic portal generators". The Hiigarans (your people) don't really know how hyperspace works as they discovered the technology in a derelict spaceship buried beneath a desert, but they can replicate the drive cores and scale them up and down for use on their larger ships. The Hiigaran hyperspace drives aren't hugely accurate and have a limited range (i.e. they can only "jump" so far before the ship re-emerges into real space and the drive needs to be recharged and/or recalibrated). Jumping to hyperspace can also be blocked by inhibitor fields. As there is reference to your ships being repaired during hyperspace jumps between levels and having "emerged from hyperspace early", it seems like travel between points isn't instantaneous, but exactly what hyperspace is or even what it looks like isn't elaborated on. Later games introduced hyperspace gates which can be used by ships that are too small to have their own hyperspace engines.
  • The Independence War series averts this with both of its main means of interstellar travel: the Linear Displacement System (LDS) drive, which is used for inter-system travel and is not faster-than-light (the very best LDS drives can only approach 99% of lightspeed under ideal conditions), and the capsule drive, which is used to jump (i.e. teleport) between solar systems at linked Lagrange points through generating "capsules" of space-time separate from main space-time. The former can be disabled for a short time by LDSi missiles to prevent ships from escaping (to the point where it's the only weapon with a dedicated hotkey), or by space stations or Lagrange points that generate inhibitor fields.
  • In the Kirby series, Kirby can achieve this with his warp star while Meta Knight can do this when his cape turns into bat wings.
  • Machines: Wired For War has faster than light travel... that is fatal to any cell-based organisms. Terraforming robots were sent out to new planets, and sleeper ships with humans were meant to follow.
  • Mass Effect takes the concept of negative mass and runs with it. Ships are equipped with Mass Effect drives, that reduce the mass of the ship and manipulate gravity around the ship, so that the ship "falls" through space at FTL speeds. This is used for "short range" (0-20 Light year) movement - enough to scoot around a cluster of stars. However, the game takes place on a galactic scale - to travel over distances further than a few nearby stars, ships utilise "Mass Relays", gigantic, free-floating Prothean actually Reaper relics which can project kiloparsec-long negative-mass highways. Even larger distances require two even larger relays linked together.
    • The codex justifies the lightspeed limitations as mass effect fields raise the speed of light. Comm buoys are simple mass relays which create corridors of mass effect fields that photons travel through. Light outside a ship, in conventional space, moves slower than in a mass effect field.
    • A throwaway line about 12 light-years being a day's voyage suggests that ships can reach 4,000 times the speed of light easily, but that indicates that traveling from one end of the galaxy to the other would take more than 20 years. Also ships in FTL accumulate a static charge that will eventually overload the ship's systems and kill the crew unless discharged into a planet's magnetic field or a specialized facility on a space station.
    • It's implied that there may be some way to increase this non-Relay FTL speed, as the Reapers can apparently go 30 light years in a day (which would be nearly 11,000 times the speed of light). However, the Codex notes that the citadel species have no idea how the hell they do it.
      • No one actually understands the Mass Relays completely (the base on Ilos were on the verge of understanding them before the Reapers came) and it is stated by Vigil that the Reapers have kept it that way so that civilisation grows in ways that is within the bounds of what they can easily deal with and that the Citadel is a key part of their system. It makes sense then seeing as they built it that they would have ways to use the technology that no species can comprehend
    • Reapers also seem to be immune to the aforementioned static charge (it still happens, it just doesn't harm them), and can fly at FTL for months on end with no damage. This may be the reason there are often arcs of lightning surrounding them when they land on a planet: it's the enormous amount of static the Reaper has built up being discharged.
  • All interstellar travel in Mission Critical is done via Tal-Seto jump points that link two systems together. It was initially assumed that the Tal-Seto network stretches through the entire galaxy, but the protagonist finds out (after jumping to the Bad Future) that the network was fully mapped and if fairly limited. It's possible other Tal-Seto networks exist unconnected to this one, but there is no way to verify that without sending a Sleeper Starship or a Generation Ship to a star not on the network. Additionally, the Cached UN develops a Doomsday Device that collapses the Tal-Seto network in on itself, destroying everything in it.
  • Interstellar travel in Nexus: The Jupiter Incident is only possible via wormholes and only if the ship is equipped with a wormhole drive. Additionally, Interplanetary Drives allow a ship to rapidly cross interplanetary distances.
  • No Man's Sky has the rather commonplace Hyperdrive, which allows ships to "warp" to other systems, as well as the Portal Network made up of alien temples and their Portals.
  • Portal and Portal 2 contain FTL travel by implication; the Handheld Portal Device can create a instantaneous spacetime link between two surfaces at arbitrary distance from one another. While the scale of events in Portal doesn't allow for this to be examined, the second game contains two minor references: first, recorded messages from the Cloudcuckoolander founder of Aperture Science discuss the possibility of encountering a violation of temporal causality while using the Portal Gun; second, the final sequence of the game involves an extremely long-range portal and employs the speed of light delay involved in its creation (but not transit) as a visual storytelling element.
  • Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages has an unconventional FTL engine called the anchor drive. Instead of accelerating a ship past the speed of light, the anchor drive holds the ship in one part of spacetime, allowing the universe to move around them. Caster ships are equipped with a caster drive, which was an early prototype of a warp drive that was weaponized after anchor drives became standard.
  • The Limnal Drive in Rodina is either a form of Warp Drive or Hyperdrive, where you move at a couple of times the speed of light, rather than hundreds of times the speed of light.
  • Shores of Hazeron relies primarily on a Portal Network to get around, using a natural wormholes orbiting stars. However, high tech civilizations can build Warp Drives.
  • Sins of a Solar Empire has "phase lanes" connecting in-system objects. Nearly all ships are equipped with phase drives, allowing rapid movement between them. Jumping to other systems is only possible close to the star and only after researching a certain technology. Interestingly, there are no set paths between stars, so a ship can travel to any star from any star in a scenario. There may also be naturally-occuring wormholes linked to other locations the system or in others. Using them also requires research. Additionally, the Vasari are an ancient race whose knowledge of phase space greatly exceeds that of the TEC or the Advent. They may build Phase Stabilizer Nodes, which form a Portal Network of sorts. Their space stations may also be equipped with modules doing this. Additionally, firing the Kostura Cannon at a planet temporarily adds it to the Portal Network. The other uses is allowing their Space Fighters to make short-range jumps within the gravity well in order to ambush a target or evade attacks. Certain ships are able to do it on their own. The best use is allowing their missiles a chance to bypass enemy shields by pulsing in and out of phase space.
    • Some ships have abilities that temporarily block a gravity well to all incoming or outgoing traffic. All sides can build stationary inhibitors in orbit of colonies that increases the phase drive charge time for all enemy outgoing ships (except scout frigates) by a factor of 8, turning all escaping ships into sitting ducks. Starbases have a limited version of this ability, additionally damaging all escaping ships.
  • According to Omega in the DS version of Sonic Colors, Sonic the Hedgehog will surpass light speed at his current rate.
  • Ships in Space Empires have no FTL travel. Instead, there's a Portal Network of naturally occurring warp points. Going further up the tech tree, however, lets you create artificial ones. You can then put a component that both opens and closes warp points into your ships, essentially equipping them with portal drives.
  • Space Pirates and Zombies has a Jump Drive. The very first jump takes the player from Earth to Proxima Centauri, which is about 4 lightyears away.
  • In Spore, once you hit the space stage, your spaceship is equipped with an "interstellar drive". No further elaboration is given.
  • Star Control II uses a form of the hyperdrive: there are multiple alternate dimensions, each of which has its own unique laws of physics, through which an appropriately equipped vessel can travel. Some of these dimensions are conveniently well-suited for interstellar travel. Aside from TrueSpace (the Einsteinian dimension we live in), there are:
    • HyperSpace, where the speed of light is much greater than the speed of light in TrueSpace; the correspondence between HyperSpace and TrueSpace coordinates is not a linear transformation, and the gravity wells of TrueSpace stars generate "intrusions" (named portals) into HyperSpace. As a consequence, while in HyperSpace, looking out the window will treat you to a view of a highly compressed and red-shifted space. The physics of HyperSpace constantly bleed velocity from a moving vessel, enforcing the rule that Space Is an Ocean. Portals appear as "holes" in HyperSpace, which force your ship to translate back to TrueSpace should you attempt to fly through. "HyperWave" super-luminal communications may simply be a special name for sending ordinary radio waves across HyperSpace. Among its other properties, HyperSpace is also the dimension with the coolest background music.
    • Also featured is QuasiSpace, the home dimension of the Arilou, with even more exotic physics. In QuasiSpace, the speed of light is much closer or even identical to the one in TrueSpace. The drag force still exists, but thrusting exhausts insignificant amounts of fuel. QuasiSpace is, however, full of constantly appearing wormholes that lead to different solar systems, allowing you to cross vast distances nearly instantaneously, provided you can find a wormhole leading where you want to go. Arilou Skiffs apparently use QuasiSpace to instantly teleport to a random nearby location during battles.
    • There apparently are a number of other dimensions, some even more different and eerie. And occasionally inhabited. Opening a gateway into some of those other dimensions would be an incredibly foolish act, leading to the apparition of "reality aberrations" (the alteration of physics in an area) and of malevolent extradimension entities.
    • The non-existent third game's storyline start with HyperSpace suddenly disappearing due to "interdimentional fatigue", leaving all races stuck on their planets. The only ones who can travel are those whose ships are equipped with "warp bubble" drives, which are, apparently, instantaneous. The ending implies that all ships will be equipped with these drives.
  • Used in Star Raiders, making its use in video games Older Than the NES; hyperspace is the only way to travel from one galactic sector to another.
    • Also appears in Activision's Star Master, a game with a very similar premise.
    • Appears in the NES game Destination Earthstar, which is similar to the above two games in some respects.
  • Star Ruler has Jump Drives. They can only target stars as destinations, though you can initiate a jump from anywhere. Most interstellar travel is done the slow way, by using rocket engines to accelerate, then flip around and decelerate into the system - the Jump Drive allows you to teleport swarms of ships into an enemy system with absolutely no warning. It should be noted, though, that "slowboating" can also result in low-end FTL - a light-second is roughly 0.002AU, yet ships can accelerate past that distance/s fairly early on.
    • Star Ruler 2 introduces many flavors of FTL travel. Hyperspace is your standard Star Trek esque super-fast movement that can travel anywhere but is among the slowest FTL methods and requires heavy hyperdrive systems on ships. The Slipstream drive used by the Nylli rips a hole in the fabric of space to create a temporary wormhole which has instantaneous travel time but enemies can use the slipstream to chase after you. The Mono's Gates can be used to create a Portal Network that provide cheap, instantaneous and empire-locked FTL travel, but has expensive setup costs and can be destroyed. Fling Beacons used by the Oko shoot ships out at tremendous velocity and can be aimed anywhere, but the ships must either use another fling beacon to get home or slowboat it back. During the beta, taking the no FTL option would grant you a hefty +3 points to invest elsewhere, such as faster construction.
  • Prior of update 2.0 of Stellaris all three options were available at the beginning of the game, but a species could only use one.
    • Warp is direct and omnidirectional but slow, expensive in terms of costs and energy and can only be done from the edge of solar systems to prevent... accidents.
    • "Jumps" exist as wormholes that can be created from "wormhole stations" in systems to any other system in range, but the stations are expensive, vulnerable and have significant recharge times.
    • Hyperdrives use existing connections "Hyperlanes" between systems and are much faster than warp, but they must abide by the paths already present, forming networks that may easily be cut off, if vital systems with few connecting lanes are occupied. Due to game balance issues the developers eliminated the other starting FTL methods in 2.0, hyperdrive was retained because it allowed players to create choke points.
    • A fourth version not available to playable species until late in the game is a Jump Drive that takes the ship into an alternate universe where they can travel 20 times faster than conventional drives, but has the risk of accidentally tearing open a portal to the universe where the Unbidden reside.
    • Post-2.0 one can discover unstable natural wormholes that can be stabilized with mid-game technology to create a permanent "shortcut" between two systems on opposite sides of the galaxy, or Precursor gateways that can be reactivated and link to other reactivated gates.
  • Strange Adventures In Infinite Space and its sequel have FTL drives of various designs (at least, based on their names), but they boil down to how many times the speed of light they can travel. However, even with the fastest "conventional" FTL drive you can still only travel at 20c, meaning travel time between stars still routinely takes months, if not years (better have some supplies). If you're lucky, you can manage to obtain a hyperdrive, which can instantaneously teleport to any system but has a 60-day recharge time (it's still better than any other drive, though). Additionally, the Zorg are a race of psychics who can fold space with their minds to a limited extent. Fighter pilots can only do so in combat, while a Zorg Helmsman can transport his frigate (and the accompanying ships) instantaneously up to 2 parsecs but has to rest a week between folds. There is another way of moving through space that is even faster (i.e. no delay) involving an artifact called the Aetheric Mirror. This allows you to swap your position with that of another fleet. It can even be a fun way of getting rid of a large enemy fleet. Travel to a black hole (as long as you have the Anti-Graviton Shunt installed) and use the Mirror on the enemy. You will end up in their system, while they will end up spaghettified by the black hole.
  • Sunless Skies: Normal travel (consisting of a spaceship-locomotive as the vessel, venting steam behind it as propulsion) may or may not already qualify considering the bizarre physics of the universe and the thinning laws of reality, but the more directly FTL method, or at least the method treated like one (getting locomotives through the great, dark void and into other important and populated regions of space) is the Singh-Jenkins relay. It works by coating the locomotive in Hours, the material and refined form of time itself, for protection then using a combination of the Correspondence and the explicitly reality-violating Red Science to violently accelerate the locomotive to impossible speeds and fling it into the desired region in a timely manner.
  • Supreme Commander makes use of Quantum Tunneling networks, it is implied that they still must travel at sub-luminal speeds to new systems but once they deploy a quantum gate they can use it to teleport from several miles starships into orbit to the eponymous commanders to planetary surfaces.
  • In Sword of the Stars, every race has a separate and unique form of FTL travel:
    • The Humans rely on natural Node Drive, a form of jump drive between randomly connected stars via stable preset connections through "Nodespace", which can be very fast but having to follow the paths means travel time between physically-nearby systems can take longer than they should if there is no direct path. The Zuul also use Nodes, but they make their own artificial connections, which have a drawback of being unstable and deteriorating over time. Their drives are also slower than the Humans'. Additionally, both races can incur the wrath of some Energy Beings that live in Nodespace, who aren't too happy about uninvited visitors (especially the Zuul, who literally tear their way through the dimension). They usually show up during battles in Nodespace, but can also enter normal space to attack planets.
    • The Liir use inertialess "Stutter Warp" drive that rapidly and repeatedly teleports their ships over microscopic distances, giving them exceedingly flexible interstellar travel, but having the catch of slowing down significantly near gravity wells.
    • The Tarka use "Hyperdrive", which is an archetypal warp drive that allows them to go anywhere; it isn't affected by gravity, but it isn't as quick as Liir stutter warp in deep space. Tarka at least make some concession to the issue of causality, as in hyper their ships are non-events by the laws of conventional physics and exist everytime and notime simultaneously. For that reason, it is impossible to communicate with their ships (i.e. give them new orders) wihle they are in-flight, until a Subspace Ansible is researched.
    • The Morrigi have "Void Cutter" drive that is some sort of amalgamation of warp drive and regular thrusters such that larger fleets are able to travel faster than small fleets or single ships; basically enforcing speed in numbers.
    • Finally, the Hivers don't actually have true FTL at all - they have to expand using conventional sub-light engines and Bussard ramjets, but they can construct Gate Ships which form into an instant Portal Network when deployed through their empire. The Hiver gates can eventually be upgraded to function as one-way portals up to a certain distance. However, there is a margin of error involved, and ships can end up up to 2 light years off the target, which is still closer than going there purely by sublight.
    • The sequel introduces two new methods. The Suul'ka fold space to instantaneously teleport using their Psychic Powers, note  game balance is maintained because they're Zuul units that are very expensive (in credits and population) to summon. And the Loa use "neutrino accelerator gates" that launch ships at high speed, but the ships slow as they go further from the gate, fortunately Loa ships are masses of blocks that reconfigure on demand so a fleet can drop acceleration gates in any system it passes through.
  • Tachyon: The Fringe uses tachyon coil generators to achieve superluminal travel. There are several versions of these. The most common one is used for in-system TCG gates, allowing Space Fighters and small transport ships to move between sectors in a region. The larger (and purpler) mega-gates allow travel between regions (systems). While most gates are linked to one other gate, there are one-way gates, which are mentioned to have been used in the past to settle the Fringe. Notably, the Bora left Sol Sector using an early one-way mega-gate to settle what is now known as the Bora Region. Capital ships and large freighters and transports can't fit into a TCG gate and are, instead, equipped with hyperdrives, which function using the same principle of "riding" tachyon waves and use the gates as navigation reference points. Similar to Star Trek and Star Wars, the ships appear to rapidly accelerate before vanishing in a burst of light. Despite the presence of carriers and battlestars, it's not uncommon for fighters to travel to the battle using gates, while the capital ships use their hyperdrives.
  • This is an issue for the IMC in Titanfall. In the world of Titanfall, humanity has developed faster-than-light space travel (referred to as "jumping") but because of the layout of planets between the Core Systems and the Frontier (the homefront of the Militia and the place where the war is being waged), FTL travel is fuel-demanding. IMC troops can jump to Demeter but to do so they expend their fuel supplies to their limit. They refuel there then push onwards with a second jump to the Frontier worlds. If you take out Demeter then the IMC wind up in a situation where they can't send reinforcements in anything close to an effective timeline (as in will take years to send backup to the Frontier without Demeter's fuel plants). This is why the battle of Demeter in the Campaign is a pivotal battle for everyone.
    • The details behind the tech is never explained beyond the above (a common trend in the series) but whatever it is, it's apparently precise enough for dropships to "jump" from low orbit to just a hundred metres or so above the ground reliably enough for it to be the standard way to deploy troops to an area (other than drop pods, at least). Some Pilots even use the tech for deploying their Titans, having them "jump" straight to the ground from the ship carrying it.
  • Vega Strike has two variants: Jump Drive for using Jump Points between star systems and SPEC-drive (Spatial Partitioned Expansion-Contraction) for fast insystem travel (in the story it's also used for exploration and contact with off-network systems). As to limitations, both need to shut down Deflector Shields and SPEC is gradually suppressed by presence of significant mass or a Jump Point.
  • In the Wing Commander series, larger ships use "jump points" to travel between systems. Ships above corvette size can use these points pretty much at will, and the points form "tram lines" between systems. Most fighter and bomber-class ships cannot use these points; therefore justifying the use of "carriers" to move them between systems. As the games are loosely based on WWII fighters and systems, this travel system is justified. In Privateer, a Wing Commander spinoff, jump drives are available for just about all ships regardless of size - though those drives are limited by fuel storage (six jumps before you have to dock to refuel). Few fighters in the main game series can jump without a carrier to carry them; the Broadsword and Morningstar from Wing Commander II, the Excalbur from Wing Commander III (in one mission, and one mission only), the Dragon from Wing Commander IV (shown jumping multiple times; the player gets to use it twice).
    • In the novelization of Wing Commander IV, the UBW has access to a tech that was studied but discarted by the Terran Confederation that allowed a ship to open up a jump point so that fighters on the other end could use the path, even if they themselves weren't equipped with the appropriate drive.
  • Ships in the X-Universe traditionally rely on the Ancient's jumpgate network for travel. Jumpdrives are a (relatively) recent invention that allows ships to force open a local wormhole. However, the wormhole is only capable of locking onto existing jumpgates, the justification being that it uses the gates to obtain coordinates to jump to. Which gate connects to which has a way of shifting around due to the Ancients' meddling. The Terrans are the only race to have developed their own wormhole gates without any help from the Ancients and theirs function without any abnormalities during the jumping interval. The Kha'ak are the only ones who can jump (accurately, at least) without gates. The lack of true, independent FTL or true Subspace Ansibles bites civilization in the ass when the non-Terran jump gate network is shut down following the apocalyptic Second Terraformer War, causing interstellar governments to effectively dissolve instantaneously, leaving behind isolated remnants trapped in hundreds of Lost Colonies.


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