I've started cardboard prototyping for a first iteration.
I built a dump-truck-shaped scooper for players to use. Behold:
I've realized plastic beads are probably a bad choice of material, and totally unnecessary for a first prototype. Now I'm thinking the "dirt" can be small pieces of shredded newspaper (or something like it?) and the "ore" can be beads -- but if so, won't the beads settle to the bottom? I don't want the ore to settle to the bottom... In which case the beads should be the "chemicals"?
I'll be headed down to Chinatown on Friday, so I think I'll go to Canal Plastics and get a handful or two of tiddlywinks (small plastic discs) or something. We'll see? At any rate -- progress!