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Jumping through Hyperspace/WitchSpace: BGS v.2.5.1

Hyperspace, also called witchspace, is a dimension through which hyperdrive/witch-space drive equipped ships can travel instantaneously from one star system to the other. There are limits to the maximum distance that can be traversed in one jump.

In the Oolite fanfiction, a hyperspace jump leaves behind a temporary blue hypercloud, which can be used to track the target system, and through which additional ships can jump to the same system, not using their own Quirium fuel.

Entry and exit of hyperspace are indicated by an unpleasant feeling, which experienced hyperspace travellers become used to.

Hyperspace travel looks like travelling through a tunnel with characteristic white rings around it.

One arrives at a witchpoint beacon at the far end (a variety of buoy).


It is rumoured that Thargoids are able to navigate inside hyperspace.

Legend has it that the results of a misjump can be disastrous, varying from ending up somewhere in the middle of a sun or interstellar space, to travelling through time, or even returning to normal space turned inside out! A forced misjump is the last resort of the hopeless.

History of Discovery

There are at least 3 different schools with views on Oolite in-game History. The Syncretists and the Purists have quite different accounts of how it was discovered (see History for a purist history and GalCop for a syncretist account of how Witchspace was discovered). The Pragmatics don't want to be tied down with a backstory - and just play the game! See Lore for an exposition of the various philosophies.


A witchspace connection consists of a fifth-dimensional pseudocylindrical passage, or intertube, connecting a blue hole created by a witchspace drive to an invisible virtual white hole in the destination system. Fuel expenditure is proportional to the realspace length of the intertube.

The term witchspace refers specifically to the strange, magical and somewhat unlikely visual artefacts encountered while travelling the virtual length of the intertube. This virtual length is at once constant and proportional to the square of the realspace length, which makes perfect sense in five-dimensional bogometrics.

A witchspace malfunction occurs when the metric of the intertube is not perfectly balanced, which can happen due to hardware failure (slightly bent wire, build-ups of dust, or uneven load due to centrifugal force) in the witchspace drive’s field generator coils. This causes an “unravelling” of the field which dumps the traveller somewhere along the realspace path of the intertube; it is more likely to do so in the presence of large quantities of radioactive isotopes, incidentally of the very type used by the thargoids in their unrelated and badly-understood interstellar drives. Unfortunately, the only way to detect an unravelling condition is to enter the blue hole and see whether you end up where you expected to. This explains the importance of regular [[Maintenance].

Witchdrive fuel is used to create the entire intertube immedately before entering it, rather than for actual travel; for this reason, none is recovered in the case of “falling out” of the intertube Jens Ayton (2007).

Other theories of what Witchspace is

Facts about wormholes

Here are some facts about the way wormholes work in Oolite:

  • The radius of the wormhole depends on the mass of the ship. This means that small ships create small wormholes and big ships create big ones. Therefore, it makes good sense to consider that a Cobra MKI generating a 1LY wormhole uses less fuel than an OSE Juggernaught generating a 1LY wormhole.
  • The lifetime of the wormhole depends on the mass of the ship. You can verify this immediately if you buy a Wormhole Scanner and sample-scan a few wormholes. You will find that a Cobra MKI generates a wormhole that collapses in, say, 1.5 minutes, but an Anaconda created one collapses in 5 minutes or more (the numbers are indicative only and not necessarily accurate). This may be interpreted as another indication that a lot more fuel was used for the creation of the Anaconda wormhole.
  • The mass of the ship does not affect the time taken to travel inside the wormhole. A Mamba escort entering a wormhole opened by its mother will arrive to destination together with the mother. Another_Commander.

Hyperspace or Witchspace?

The confusion about the hyperspace/witchspace terminology comes from the original Acorn version manual and novella. Ian Bell & David Braben used hyperspace as their term of choice in the Manual. Robert Holdstock used witchspace by habit in his novella: it's found in many of his other SF novels, if my memory serves me correctly. Subsequent versions of the game's in-game text and documents have mixed both. It's now reached the point that Mr Braben's later versions of the game mix both terms pretty randomly KZ9999 (2009).


Jumping through Hyperspace/WitchSpace: BGS v.1.10.9.

Witchdrive Engines

Fuel/Misjump Issues

Extra Fuel Tanks

Changing the jumps

More varieties of Thargoid

Dealing with Thargoids



Oolite Equipment
Standard Equipment
Astrogation ConsoleCargo HoldCompassEnergy banksEngine/Main Drive • HUDIFF ScannerLife Support SystemsMissilePulse LaserShieldsShip's HullTorus Jump DriveView Screen • Witchspace/Hyperspace Drive
Optional Equipment
Advanced Navigational ArrayAdvanced Space CompassCargo Bay ExpansionDocking ComputersE.C.M. SystemEscape PodExtra Energy UnitExternal Heat ShieldingFuel ScoopsGalactic HyperdriveIFF SystemIntegrated Targeting SystemMilitary Shield EnhancementMulti-Targeting SystemNaval Energy UnitPassenger BerthScanner Targeting EnhancementShield BoostersTarget System Memory ExpansionWitchdrive Fuel InjectorsWormhole Scanner
Beam LaserECM Hardened MissileEnergy BombMilitary LaserMining LaserMissilePulse LaserQuirium Cascade MineTwin Plasma Cannon