Tackling a tile-based 3D system

I’m currently entertaining the idea of attempting a tile-based map system, but I’m fairly unfamiliar with 3D as a whole. I’d like to know where I can start on a project like this and any help would be appreciated. Here’s an example of what I’d like to try and recreate in theory.

It’s not the best example, but it shows the most basic representation of what I want to try and build. I’m familiar with doing this in 2D, so I’m not completely ignorant, but I’m not sure where to start in terms of 3D because I have next to zero experience with it. Also as a note, this is for fun. I just want to try and explore Panda 3D a little and learn something along the way. Thanks in advance.

EDIT: Here’s another example that better portrays what I want to accomplish. Especially the variable height part, as in not just a simple flat ground encompassing the whole map. I want there to be different levels of height, which I think will be the most complicated part of the whole thing.

You might want to search for snaptothegrid’s retro terrain if you are looking for that specific height effect.

Another tip for making your life more easy is to make one panda unit the length of a grid. This will make movement and positioning a lot more easy.