The FTL drive allows a spacecraft to travel faster than light (FTL). This is not required for interstellar travel, but it greatly reduces the travel time between solar systems. Without a FTL drive a spacecraft is forced to deadhead, which is limited by the speed of light.
The required size of the FTL drive depends on the size of the spacecraft. A smaller FTL drive than required will make it unable to engage, and a bigger FTL drive than required allow for redundancies in case the FTL drive is damaged. The FTL dive also require a great deal of power, so an adequately sized capacitor and power plant is also required.
FTL Drive Types
A wormhole FTL drive allows the spacecraft to instantly travel to another solar system through wormholes. It is created using lumenite, which is very common in the universe, but only found on moons and planets in colder orbit zones.
The wormhole drive has three polarity settings:
There are three different levels of wormhole drives, determining which polarity settings it has.
When engaged, the drive goes through a 6 second warm up phase, then the drive is active for 50 seconds, then goes through a 6 second cool down phase. The polarity cannot be changed while the the drive is engaged.
The spacecraft will disintegrate upon entry into a wormhole if the drive polarity is set incorrectly!
Helm console shows an indicator with the polarity when the wormhole drive is engaged.
See the Engineer Station page for more information on how to operate the wormhole FTL drive.
A warp FTL drive allows a spacecraft to accelerate past lightspeed instantly, allowing the spacecraft to travel directly between solar systems, at a fraction of the time it would take to deadhead. The speed of warp depends on the warp factor, 5x the speed of light per warp factor. I.e., warp 1 is 5x the speed of light, warp 2 is 10x the speed of light, and so on, until warp 9 at 45x the speed of light.
Warp FTL drives require antiflux particles, which can be harvested with particle collector bays. It can also be refined from a refinery on a planetoid. The patent does not appear until you complete the wormhole FTL drive patents.
Warp drives can be set to warp factors 1 through 9. This is however limited by the warp FTL drive module installed on the spacecraft. Each warp factor requires more capacitor energy than the last, so extra large capacitor and power plant is required for higher warp factors.
When engaged, the warp drive goes through a 6 second warm up phase, then provides warp drive speed for 50 seconds, then goes through a 6 second cool down phase. Warp drive is engaged at the currently selected warp factor. The warp factor cannot be changed once the FTL drive is engaged.
The capacitor power consumed at warp factor 1 is the same as the capacitor power consumed by engaging a wormhole FTL drive. That way a spacecraft's FTL drive and capacitor are adequate no matter what FTL drive type is installed later.
Helm station shows a warp factor indicator when the warp drive is hot.
Engineer crewman will operate the warp drive at an appropriate warp factor when the destination is farther than .9 parsecs (?) away. Issue a Travel Direct order and the crew will do the rest, it doesn't matter how many parsecs away it is. The engineer will engage the warp drive repeatedly if necessary to get there.
Engineer crewman will operate the warp drive to follow another vessel. If the spacecraft being followed engages its warp drive, the engineer crewman will set the warp factor of his own spacecraft to match that of the spacecraft being followed and engage his own warp drive.
Design analysis shows the maximum warp factor achievable based on max capacitor power.
There is no acceleration or deceleration, speed changes are instantaneous. The pilot can disengage the warp FTL drive at any time to instantly stop the spacecraft, allowing a trained pilot to make short bursts of warp speed in order to get to in solar system destinations more quickly than with sublight speed.
It is recommended to not point the spacecraft directly at a celestial body and to use the lower warp factors when warping within a solar system, since collision might happen faster than it is possible to react.
When warping to a distant solar system it is recommended to disengage warp a good distance from the destination, so the spacecraft doesn't exit in the middle of one of the destination solar system's stars or other celestial bodies.
Turn Rate at Warp Speed
A spacecraft travelling at warp speed, or even at the speed of light using sublight engines will be unable to turn as quickly until it reduces its speed. This is because the faster a ship moves, the slower the turning is.