In one of the upcoming projects we are working on at TreseBrothers, we have been wrestling with tile sets and "the grid." When building a environment based on tiles, lots of tile artists get obsessed with a concept called "removing the grid." You can go to great lengths to hide the fact that your world is based around a grid of square, same sized tiles. You can draw lots of variations of grass tiles, or create overlays to try to hide the grid. I have decided to can it--its not worth it.
Having wrestled with this, and done a lot of tile creation now, I have come around to believe that you want to find a balance between showing the grid and trying to hide it. In a game that is based on a grid, and especially when tactics are involved, a lot of the game play and strategic decisions are made based on that grid, distances that characters are from each other, and the range of different effects and abilities. Our goal will to be create beautiful tiles that make the grid subtle without hiding it. Especially on a small device like a phone, or when creating a touch-based RPG, its important that the control areas, and the target areas for a touch are clear.
That is why our art team has resolved--we will not hide the grid! The grid will be subtly obvious. Check out these sample environments based on our new tile sets. What do you think? Imagine them on your phone, and send in your valuable feedback!