I’ve been working on creating a physics and AI representation that is both fast to edit and reliable. A few months ago, I’d prototyped a system using a hexagonal grid. In addition to the tactical properties, hexagons have the advantage of creating an ‘organic’ feel. However hexagonal grids also make collision calculations significantly more difficult. I’ve switched to a square grid - but to keep the organic feel and add some variability to the design I’ve added sub-tile shapes like half-tiles, triangles, and corners.
Above is the custom editor built in Unity. A designer can modify tile properties and then generate the ‘physics’, pathfinding nodes, and a reference OBJ file. An artist can then use the OBJ as a live object for sculpting detailed final art.