There's no way around it - big multi-layer pieces of terrain just aren't going to fit into a small box. So let's just stick with a one level floor plan. Everybody and his uncle uses some variation of rectangular or hex-based tiles for their terrain. But since this is sci-fi, and we're building space-stations and spaceports and such, we should look for something a little more scientific. So how about a nice repeating pentagon pattern?
These mock-ups of tiles are based on a repeating regular polygon pattern called a Cairo Tessellation. The pentagon has four equal sides and a fifth, longer side. Two of the angles are right angles, so you could combine this pattern with square tiles to get some very interesting results.
Tune in tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion and solution to the Small Box Blues!