Unity has added great support for isometric tilemaps in recent years. You can work on tiles of your own dimensions over different layers.
This article is based on multiple components taken from the example Unity project on tilemaps including the pixel-perfect camera and the isometric character controller. You can find both in the example project.
You can take the different layers from Unity's example isometric game as a solid starting point:
- Ground Layer
The layer where the player walks on. Most of your levels will usually be made of ground tiles.
- Ground Detail Layer
The obstacles and decorations related to the ground layer, a car for example.
- Level 1 layer
The "First floor" of the map. It's the layer the player walks on after having walked on a ramp and reached the "first floor" of the map.
- Level 1 Detail Layer
The obstacles and decorations related to the "first floor".
- Collider Layer
The only layer where automatic collision detection takes place. Used for both non-walking areas and obstacles.
Unity uses these layers to figure out what to draw on top or behind every single item in your scene since isometric is 2.5D: a 2D environment that gives the illusion of 3D.
[Part 2 coming tomorrow]