Minor update (and, sorry, no screenshots again). Last night I managed to get the character in and moving over the grid. No animation, and no collisions, so that's not ideal, but at least some minor progress was made.
I spent most of my time fighting with Unity. While I really like the framework, and generally find it extremely impressive, it's kind of a dichotomy: On one side you have features like the physics engine that are just baked in and waiting to be used. Ready to go, flexible and extremely useful, easy and intuitive, just all-around impressive.
Then you have things like... moving. While it makes sense that an object's movement through 3D space is not something that generalizes well between scenarios, it's jarring to go from "holy crap, I clicked a button and now my sphere behaves like a physical object" to "now reference the object's position and update its transform with C#."
Which is exactly the experience I had, all in one feature, with the new Tilemaps. It took less than an hour to learn the feature, figure out how to use it, grab some free art, get it sliced, and construct a room.
And then... nothing.
I guess the feature is solely for creating and managing graphical tiles on a grid. Which is great; I'm a Linux guy, I appreciate "do one thing and do it well." But in Unity, for some reason, I was expecting "OK, now I have a grid in 3D space. I should be able to attach something to it, right? Base an object's movement around it? Wouldn't that be the the primary use case?" Apparently not.
I did manage to get a tile's location and use it to position a non-grid sprite... again, though, outside of the grid. And I was really hoping TilemapCollider2D or something related would be intuitive and readily available, but after better than an hour futzing around with the UI, I just have no idea how to use those or whether there's a simple way to make an object moving over the grid interact with them. Pretty sure I'm going to have to sit through at least an hour of tutorial videos to figure out exactly how to implement this; it seems like one of those corners of the framework that ends up a case of "really? I have to instantiate three of these that don't get used anywhere before I can start using this?"
As much as I appreciate the excellent video tutorials Unity provides, I really, really wish they came with text versions. Ah well. Hopefully Saturday morning I can invest some time to watch and learn.