However, loading each tile on a map as its own individual entity was taking a long time, and using up a lot of memory. To make a 100 x 100 tile map took around two minutes to load, and I've got a good machine, so I finally decided it wasn't reasonable performance.
So, I've sacrificed complete tile by tile customisation, and gone the easy way, making the entire level map a single heightmapped mesh. It certainly gives it a better 3D appearance, but it means that rather than easily point and click designing the ground grid, with high texture detail on each 8 x 8 meter square, I now have a single 128 x 128 'tile' sized map, that has a single texture map stretched across it.
Anyhow, I've still made it so units, structures, and terrain objects are plotted to a defined grid, ensuring distance, movement, etc, still follow my turn based tile-movement style of rules system.
Now I'm finding ways of hiding the blurred/pixelated texture map of the ground by enhancing the terrain features that can be plotted on top of it. I've also let the player zoom out much further now, and that makes the terrain look more detailed too. Zooming in close doesn't have such a good look though, so I'll probably limit how close up the player can get to things..
These screenshots show my new forests, some MAU's and vehicles, and also a look at the new graphical user interface I'm working on. I'm thinking of 'radial icons and menus', where the player right clicks on something, and a menu display circles the selected object. That way, the screen won't be cluttered up with status displays and action toolbars.