Disclaimer: Somewhat long-winded question & new to developing
In my game I have a class called Item which defines what an item is. It contains several fields like the name of the item, the sprite of the item, the item's ID number, etc. I also have little physical objects on the ground that "represent" items, but they aren't really tied to the Item class in the way I want. I'll get back to this point.
So, when an enemy dies in my game,
SpawnItem(Item item) is called. Depending on a randomly generated number,
SpawnItem(ItemData.sword) might be called or
SpawnItem(ItemData.axe) and so forth. SpawnItem itself just instantiates a generic prefab (that little physical object on the ground), modifies some state like
bool itemDropped and
int numItemsDropped, makes some calculations to determine where to drop the item, and displays that item's name in a UI label above the item.
I'm currently in the process of making an inventory system, and I've realized something. Those physical objects on the ground that are supposed to be items don't really know that they're items (in the sense defined by the class). A sword doesn't know it's a sword, and an axe doesn't know it's an axe (the game object sword doesn't know that it's a sword Item defined by the class) So when I pick up an item, I can probably do some code gymnastics to get the appropriate sprite to appear in the inventory, but that doesn't seem like a smart solution.
So, my question is how do I get my sword game object (just a sphere on the ground representing a dropped item) to be linked to the sword Item? How do I get the sphere to know that it represents a sword with the ID number "1", the name "Sword", a weight of "1.5" etc. so that I don't have to do awkward code gymnastics? After all, when I'm adding an item to my inventory, I don't really think of it as JUST drawing that item's sprite in the first non-empty slot of the inventory. I would think it's much better to get each game object to know what Item it represents than to just try and get that sprite to show up in the inventory.
I might be overlooking something basic, but understand that I'm pretty new to Unity. Anyway, thanks for the time and help!