I'm trying to create a flexible tile-based game engine to make all sorts of non-realtime puzzle games, just as Bejeweled, Civilization, Sokoban, and so on.
The first approach I had was to have a 2D array of Tile objects, and then have classes inheriting from Tile that represented the game objects. Unfortunately that way I couldn't stack more game elements on the same Tile without having a 3D array.
Then I did something different: I still had the 2D array of Tile objects, but every Tile object contained a List where I put and different entities. This worked fine until 20 minutes ago, when I realized that it's too expensive to do many things, look at this example:
I have a Wall entity. Every update I have to check the 8 adjacent Tiles, then check all of the entities in the Tile's List, check if any of those entities is a Wall, then finally draw the correct sprite. (This is done to draw walls that are next to each other seamlessly)
The only solution I see now is having a 3D array, with many layers, that could suit every situation. But that way I can't stack two entities that share the same layer on the same tile. Whenever I want to do that I have to create a new layer.
Is there a better solution? What would you do?