I'm currently reseaching and trying to create some initial design for a game based on various concepts. One of the core concept is building industries based on resource chains. For example, wood cutter "creates" logs, saw mill transforms logs into planks etc. I want to design such a resource system. I will probably use a list of resources and a list of "recipes" where each recipe would likely be matched with a building.
Typically games with resource chains have rather small sets of resources, 30 or so. I want to create a much larger set with several hundreds of resources, but where resources are less "unique". For example, you might have steel and aluminium. Both could be used as hull for a ship, but the ships weight and other properties would be different. Maybe that's a bad example, the point is that many resources could be used for the same thing but affect the output somewhat.
Should I try to set this up using a "real world model" with real materials etc, or should I try to come up with a completely new set based of my imagination?
The advantage of using a "new" set is that I would get a thousand "hey, that's not how it really happens" the first day which could break immersion etc. The advantage of using "real world" stuff is that it could be easier for the player to relate to the chain. "Hmm, this steel is too heavy.. Maybe I can find some aluminium".
The setting of my game is some form of Sci-fi. I imagine the player being some space colonist from Earth, but I'm very flexible in that area.