Building in Conan Exiles is far from the easiest thing. It’s effortless to throw down a sandstone 3×3, but if you want a home to be proud of, then planning is crucial. That planning begins with the foundations. Today, I’ll show you how to design and build your blueprints and offer examples of ones I’ve used. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
You can create blueprints in a multitude of ways. Screenshotting the foundations of your base is a suitable rudimentary option. A free and relatively easy method is to draw them out on paper or use drawing software like MS Paint or GIMP. However, the best option is FORTIFY, a cheap Steam game that allows you to build and prototype designs.
What is a Blueprint?
Merriam-Webster defines a blueprint as a contact print of a drawing or other image rendered as white lines on a blue background, especially such a print of an architectural plan or technical drawing. This definition remains mostly true for what I am talking about here, but for ease of use, the term blueprint refers to a top-down view of an architectural design.
For clarity, blueprints do not always have to be a line-drawn image, nor on a blue background, at least not for this purpose. So long as the core subject matter of a top-down view of a structure is present, that is a blueprint. Alternative terms for blueprint are baseplate or floor plan. You can use either interchangeably.
Why Should I Use a Blueprint?
Why would you need to use a blueprint? Many reasons exist, most of which will depend on what sort of builder you are.
The primary reason is to help you plan out a build. When working on a larger project or struggling with keeping things consistent, a blueprint will help. By crafting or finding a floor plan, time, effort, and stress are saved by following a blueprint rather than hoping it turns out well.
The second reason is for sharing your build. From content creators to a group of friends, many people enjoy sharing their buildings. By the sharing process, you also need a way to communicate how your build is structured. High-quality blueprints are easy to share and showcase your structures and allow others to replicate them.
The third and final reason is to learn. Building attractive and effective structures is not easy and requires constant learning. Blueprints are vital resources for both learning and teaching, as you can see the structure, alongside how people and objects will move through that space. While not immediately obvious, floor plans are great at teaching those more intangible elements of architecture.
What do I Need to Create a Blueprint?
If you are ready to create your first blueprint, you have options to consider. I will show you those options, along with my recommendation on which is the best. As a content creator myself, the blueprint process is one I engage with almost every day. I have previously covered blueprints in this video, which will help visualize your options.
The easiest option is to create blueprints in-game. You achieve this by simply flying or standing above your baseplate and taking a screenshot. This method is a low-effort one for a simple alternative but is not always ideal
The issues with this approach are worth considering. Firstly, you may encounter the problem of perspective error. Conan’s Field of View slider allows you to see more of the game at once, with the downside of adding a lens-like distortion to the edges. Much like a photograph taken with a wide-angle lens, the center will appear closer, with the subject appearing to fall away closer to the edges. Confusion can arise, as the subject does not reside on a flat plane, and is susceptible to bending and distortion that is not truly present.
The second issue is clarity. Many of Conan Exiles’ building materials have vastly different textures which often blend. That blending can reduce the legibility of your screenshots, making it difficult to discern how many tiles you have used. This issue, combined with the perspective error, makes in-game screenshots a low-effort option that works well enough but is far from perfect.
Image Editing Software (Free)
The second option is free image editing or drawing software. You have abundant options, but the most accessible are MS Paint and GIMP.
MS Paint has become ubiquitous when one thinks of drawing on a PC. It is a simple program, and most of us have drawn things in MS Paint at least once or twice. This program is perfect for drawing straight lines and thus can be an effective alternative for creating blueprints.
GIMP is a more involved image editor. It is an open-source alternative to Adobe Photoshop and is the perfect free option for image editing and rudimentary drawing. You can import images, render grids, and draw perfectly straight lines, making drawing blueprints a simple endeavor.
Unfortunately, both of these programs fall foul of the same issue. Without meticulous detail in measuring the length of your lines, small inaccuracies creep into the blueprint. This may not be a significant issue, but it can damage or distract from the overall legibility of the blueprint. Floor plans are best when they’re perfectly measured, as they keep things clean, improving readability and comprehensiveness. Without that factor, you or others you send blueprints to may struggle to adapt the image into an in-game structure.
Hand-drawn blueprints are an incredibly low-cost alternative. It is simple and can produce effective results. However, the downside is a magnified version of the issues present in digital image editing software. Without careful measuring with a ruler, blueprints can be imbalanced, misshapen, or even entirely incorrect. Hand-drawn blueprints require too much attention to detail and time to be considered a reliable option for creating blueprints.
Likely the best option for blueprints, FORTIFY is a game you can purchase on Steam for £2.99/$3.65. It is primarily designed for the PvP survival game Rust and allows you to craft and prototype builds. However, Rust shares the same building system as Conan Exiles, and thus FORTIFY serves well for designing blueprints in Conan.
FORTIFY allows you to place tiles as you would in-game, with options for terrain elevation and type, though these have limited usefulness in Conan Exiles. You can build and plan in color-coded layers, design all manner of builds, and learn how different pieces interact. These pieces all have clearly defined lines and colors, allowing you to discern how many tiles are present at a glance.
When it comes to creating blueprints, FORTIFY does that perfectly. It has built-in options for removing any perspective error from FOV options, alongside a toggle to remove the HUD, along with another to remove all ground detail. You can then snap a quick screenshot absent of perspective errors, producing a simple top-down image of your structure. This image can then be taken into GIMP or Photoshop to remove the green background and replace it with any design you choose.
As an additional bonus, FORTIFY supports the Steam Workshop. This allows you to easily share your designs, or download structures others have created. As a game primarily designed for Rust, many workshop builds may not be relevant for Conan Exiles. However, you can still find designs to use in Conan, and easily share your designs with friends and strangers.
FORTIFY is constantly being updated and maintained by developer RTK Entertainment and offers a smooth experience, alongside a multitude of quality-of-life options to make the blueprint creation process simple and easy.
Which Option is Best?
Honestly, I usually always opt for the free option in cases like these. Like many of you, I prefer to save my money wherever possible. However, this is a case where you get what you pay for.
In-game screenshots, image editing software, and hand-drawn blueprints come with issues that can hinder the blueprint creation process. However, FORTIFY is relatively inexpensive and offers an easy and reliable experience, so effortless that it can be used quickly and easily, even by a newcomer. It’s not perfect, as some features will go unused as they do not apply to Conan Exiles. However, FORTIFY has proven itself over and over again.
I’ve used FORTIFY in my blueprints for over two years now, and it has not failed me yet. It’s a simple, effective, and well-designed game that makes the blueprint process as expedient as possible.
How do I Create a Blueprint?
The process of creating a floor plan depends on your end goal. If you just want to share it with friends, a screenshot from FORTIFY will usually suffice. However, if you want to edit it or share it on a wider platform like YouTube or Twitter, then there are some other options.
Below, I will detail my process for creating blueprints. These blueprints appear in my building videos and are used by many people to replicate my designs on their servers.
Step 1: Planning in FORTIFY
I’ll begin by drawing out my baseplate in FORTIFY. This is a great time to experiment with different ideas and see what looks best. Sometimes I already have a design in mind, or partially built in-game, so I’ll use reference images to get the perfect start.
Step 2: Screenshot the Foundations
Once I’m happy with the design, I fly above the foundations. I’ll toggle the 3D perspective off, line myself up so the baseplate is flat, and then turn the ground detail and the HUD off. I then complete this step by taking a screenshot using Steam’s native screenshot feature, which is bound to F12 by default.
Step 3: Image Editing
I then open the FORTIFY screenshot in GIMP. Use the fuzzy select wand to select all the green elements, then delete them. If you want a transparent background, right-click on the image layer and click ‘add alpha channel. ‘From there, right-click on the layer again and hit ‘alpha to selection’ to select the entire blueprint.
I then open two new layers, one below the baseplate and one above. I then use a 5-pixel solid black brush to draw over the lines, draw over the baseplate layer with a solid white, and finally grow the area by 5 pixels and color it in on the layer beneath the foundations.
Optionally, you can set the lines on the top layer to 70% opacity, create another layer above that, and draw the internal floor plan with a 7-pixel full opacity brush.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
Finally, I export the blueprint as a PNG file and then use it to create the requirement screen I use in my videos. This puts the floor plan onto a paper note, alongside a second note with the list of requirements for the build.
So now you know the process of creating a blueprint, I think it’s a good idea to look at some of my example blueprints so you can see for yourself how these builds are communicated. I only produce blueprints for the foundation layer of my builds, as it’s not practical to communicate a floor plan for every level. My videos are build guides, so it’s intended that viewers follow along. However, the baseplate for the foundations makes sure you get the perfect start to the build.
This is one of my most recent builds and is a large base designed for PvE using the new Stygian Pyramid set. The footprint of the build is nearly impossible to discern by looking at the build alone, so this blueprint perfectly illustrates the size and shape of all the core elements within the base.
The Gothic Mansion is probably my largest build to date, with a fittingly massive blueprint to accompany it. This build is highly impractical for anyone to rebuild, as it took me over 20 hours of building and decorating. However, there may be some people out there who want to rebuild it, so having this accurate blueprint of the foundations is vital.
The Desert Castle is an asymmetrical roleplay-focused castle design with a complex floor plan. Defensive walls mask the build, which itself spans across multiple floors. These factors make the shape and size hard to discern and replicate by sight alone, so the blueprint is crucial in making the build easier to understand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Does FORTIFY have Conan Exiles’s DLC packs?
Answer: No. FORTIFY is built for Rust and mirrors the building sets in that game. However, you can use the different colored pieces to denote various materials in your blueprint.
Question: Is it possible to make a 3D blueprint?
Answer: Not quite, as the blueprint format is for 2D images. However, you can fully build out a structure in FORTIFY and use screenshots to accompany the floor plan.
Question: Is it possible to import blueprints into Conan Exiles?
Answer: Unfortunately not. Conan does not have any integrations to allow you to import designs. Therefore, you must build the baseplate by looking at the blueprint and copying the design in-game.
And there we have it; I’ve taught you all you need to know about creating blueprints. These designs are perfect for sharing builds with friends or strangers and are a great learning tool. With this article, you now have all the tools and knowledge you need to create your blueprints. As always, don’t forget to stay tuned into ConanFanatics for all the Conan Exiles news, guides, and tips.