A system in the game consists of a star and celestial bodies that surrounds it. Above each system you can see its name and a number of planets which are presented as a small circles. If they are empty then you can't colonize them in this moment. White circles are planets that can be inhabited and colored ones shows that they belong to a certain civilization. If a system's name is also in color and you can see an influence circle (1) it means that this system is under control of an empire. If a name has no color (2), even if it's in the influence circle, then this means that this system belongs to no one. Around Dustin system (1), presented in the picture, there are many Star Lanes and around the solar nebulas (3) you can see Wormholes, more about that later. Most of the systems creates constellations - a cluster of systems connected by Star Lanes. If you zoom out you can see names of those constellations (5).
Some systems are close to constellations but they are not connected with them in a such way. You can discover them by sending probes from your scout ships. Constellations are often further away from each other, although this depends on the type of the galaxy that you chose in the beginning of the game. You can also find systems that have no star or planets. They are asteroid belts, black holes or nebulas. You can't colonize those places but if they are in your influence circle you'll get some profits from them. When this happens a color of that place changes into the colors of your empire (no. 3, the system on the right called 3C 75). Many systems in your empire can use those special places (the nebula 3C 75 in the reach of Dustin system, as presented in the picture). You should plan your colonizations carefully and invest in gaining Influence points if you want to get profits from those special systems.
There are three ways of moving your fleets and civilian units. When a given fleet has set its destination and begins the journey, sometimes, you can't change their closest target destination. The first way of moving doesn't require any additional technologies, but the next two options require your scientists to work on them. You can move between systems by using:
- Star Lanes. The most basic way of moving your fleets. Systems are connected by white lines which can be used to travel, rather fast, between systems. During a journey you can't turn back a fleet or attack other ships.
- Free Movement. When you discover the technology from the second tree, Baryonic Shielding, you get the access to an upgrade called Warp Drive. From now on you can send your fleets to systems that are not connected by Star Lanes. Here, a journey takes longer when compared to other methods but often this is the only option (in the picture you can see a fleet moving from Zoltan to Mintaka (6)). If a fleet calculates that it is faster to fly through void rather than a few systems (even if they are connected by the Star Lanes) then it will choose the shortcut. You can speed up the movement by researching the technology from the second-to-last tree, N-Dimensional Topologies.
- Wormholes. After developing the technology called Applied Casimir Effect you unlock and get the access to new system connections thanks to a new bonus - Hawking Radiation Dowser. Usually, connections will appear between constellations. Fleets move very fast. It uses all move points but the distance has no impact on the travel time.