There are a large number of FTL drive types that can be created, yet not all are within easy grasp. Most races will find themselves starting off with an alcubierre drive derived warp system, or a hyperdrive kicking them into another part of reality. Later on they could discover things along the lines of wormhole drives, jump drives, and more.
There is an astonishing number of ways one can break the universal speed limit, or in some cases, change it. There may come a time where one can find points of reality that can be breached for a drive, or gates assembled to take advantage of it. There are many kinds of FTL in another way, one of these drives are extremely quick but limited to points of various kinds for one or both endpoints, maybe even by gates. Another is a free drive, which is somewhat slower, but able to travel virtually anywhere.
Many drive systems also come with unique perks in relation to their detection by observers in realspace via normal methods and subspace or other FTL detection equipment, and very few can be safely used in atmosphere without crippling damage to the vessel or some harm to the planet being dealt, leading to built in failsafes preventing them from being used while in atmosphere
Hyperdrive is a basic FTL drive using most of its energy store in order to push a vessel into Hyperspace. This drive does little else beyond protect a ship from damage while within hyperspace and move it there safely. Basic hyperspace notes include the lack of a c-limit existing within it, the coloring of grey when immobile/doppler effect when moving anywhere, and the extremely dangerous hyperspace distortions capable of destroying ships with ease. The important note that very little energy is needed for propulsion, with vessel mass not being as important. This leads to even ion drive equipped ships actually being capable of moving to other star systems within a week. A major advantage of hyperdrive is that it doesn't take much more energy to move a massive warship into hyperspace than it would to move something as massive as a corvette. The drive itself also doesn't need to be very made much larger in order to function with far more massive craft.
Warp Drive is another basic FTL drive. This is heavily based on the alcubierre drive system, but manages to push its top speed much further than the theoretical maximum speed of the standard alcubierre. This drive cannot be used as a weapon, at least not directly, under any foreseeable circumstance. The particle blast inherent of an alcubierre drive has been for the most part eliminated somehow by the methods used to modify the drive's speed. It is a very large drive system however, able to take up a large amount of space, which grows almost proportionally with the mounting vessel. The power increase with size is somewhat great, but thankfully it isn't unmanageable for a properly powered ship of a size class. Theoretical top speed is 7LY/day.
The most basic kind of FTL drive, and likely the first any spacefaring civilisation will discover. Has a theoretical top speed of 0.42LY/day. It is easier for an Alcubierre Drive to move quickly than it is for it to move slowly, making it a difficult proposition to use it in-system, and its high power requirements can prove difficult to provide for by low tech civilisations. However, as a first step in fast interstellar flight, the benefits will usually outweigh the difficulties in its development. Along with other numerous engineering difficulties is the fact that debris and charged particles that the warped space field came into contact with are dumped on drive shutdown, which may harm the vessel. This can be used as an improvised and highly inaccurate weapon.
The Triple Effect Warp-Hyperdrive, or TEWHY for short, is a form of FTL not based on conventional physics. Unlike standard warp drives, which use strange or exotic matter to affect space, a TEWHY can do it directly. This can allow for a multitude of useful effects for the carrier craft whilst the drive is active, from deflecting the interstellar medium to applying Aristotlean physics to the area within the effect field. Whilst TEWHYs are exceptionally efficient at low speeds, they require exponentially more power to increase their maximum average speed. There are also several dangers to using a TEWHY. Course changes are impossible until drop-out, powerful forces can damage the carrier craft, an uncontrolled drop out will destroy the spacecraft, and most importantly - they are a realspace drive. Anything else in realspace in the spacecraft's path may be a hazard. If too much material hits the deflection effect, it will fail, and the spacecraft will be destroyed. It can be weaponised, though destruction is assured for the spacecraft carrying out the assault. It is effectively a faster-than-light ram, without relativity.
The Slipstream drive itself comes in two versions. One must be chosen when this drive is researched.
Fixed Speed: The developments of the slipstream drive allows a ship, following a surge of energy, to latch on and ride these superluminal currents. The result is an extremely fast version of FTL travel. These superluminal currents, when latched onto, cause the ship to phase out of realspace. Riding the current, the ship appears as a surge of light, with only a fraction of its mass still showing in realspace. However, the Time dilatation effect becomes worse, with the crew on board suffering only a minute of travel for every hour of the trip. Further more, the ship is entirely unable to stop until it reaches a "Break" in the current, which are present near stars.
Variable Speed: The developments of the slipstream drive allows a ship, Following a surge of energy, to enter into these superluminal currents. The result is a very unusual form of FTL travel, with the ships being fully functional within what scientists describe as "Superluminal Strings" The speed within these strings seems to vary by how well traveled the string is. The Time dilatation effect within the strings is severe enough that a ship within would only see a few seconds pass while hours pass outside. However, the ship is unable to stop until it reaches a break in the currents. Which are present near stars. Unlike before with riding the edge of these strings, while inside the vessel appears only as a minor burst of light, its mass not even appearing to exist outside the current.
Light Rider DriveEdit
The foundations of Light Rider theory involves the surge of energy that a Solar Flare is. This drive works on the functionality of Harnessing the Solar flare to propel the ship, The drive itself molding the Solar flare into a form of Light surge. Riding in what could only be described as a self formed solar wind. In harnessing the Solar flare, the drive is self powering. Riding the very edge of c as long as it is enveloped in this artificial solar wind.
A very unusual find with the Light Rider prototype, When developed and used a strange property was discovered. The limit of c is slightly different. The result of this is the ship is capable of FTL travel. Further still the strength of the solar flare harnessed doesn't seem to effect the drives function. In general there is a slight Time dilatation effect while the drive is in use, resulting in the crew onboard having spent less time in FTL then what has actually passed. Usually this different is just a few minutes however.
Void Door GatesEdit
These are complicated machines that skirt the edges of spacetime to create a from of FTL travel. The gate itself while active creates a field in space of size relative to the gate, within this field the boundaries of spacetime are slowly worn down before fracturing. Once the fracture has been created the gate directs the fracture towards a specific point in space. the fracture itself is remarkably stable despite its nature and only visible as a gravitational anomaly, having no notable FTL signature to speak of. Ships that pass through the "Gateway" enter a state similar to energy in that mass ceases to be relevant to spacetime.
Vessels are otherwise unaffected by this change to a superluminal state, traveling far beyond the limit of c. The trip itself still takes time but is at significant speed, without a gate on the other end though the vessels will have no return method as the activating gate is unable to pass through its own fracture and attempting to pass through the fracture would annihilate both. Further still an unusual effect of this FTL is that as the ship is at least temporarily outside of spacetime, the ship and crew to travel as if no time had passed, regardless of how long passed between departure and arrival.