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How about creating more uses for batteries? Right now I believe they're only used to refresh flashlights. And since I don't dare go out at night I never bother picking them up. But maybe you can find other devices to use with them? The idea for these items is that they help the player without being overpowered, or even necessary. Stationary lamps (that work from batteries and not the grid, put them around your perimeter to see incoming zombies at night, or in your safehouse to have some light at night, possibly add darkness activated versions that save batteries) (Once this exists you can create a "fear of the dark" trait and then better find a lamp before the electricity shuts down)Radios (One way) (Allow the meta game to give feedback about whats going on to the player, planes flying over will be indicated by radio chatter before they show, gives reports of zombie locations, shares npc locations, shares weather forecasts? Put some backstory into the game, let the radio explain that the rest of the world is as fucked as you are. Can also use them as decoys to attract zombies)Radios (Two way) (Player can communicate locally basically speak to other npcs even if they're not near you but posess radios, perhaps you can initiate trade, or forge alliances through the radio and then meet up with those people, basically the standard dev plans to communicate with npc's but now you can do some of it remotely.)GPS equipment, (Either minimap or simple "set coordinates and follow the arrow" affairs, everyone's got one these days, and the satellites will probably keep working for a few weeks months or years after the apocalypse, they could come pre loaded with one or two good sites so the finder can go on a gps treasure hunt and find an abandoned shack, a secret stash or just the previous owner's house!)Night vision goggles (When the military base opens up I'm sure these can be found, they work so vision is not affected at night, could change the night game, as long as you've got batteries you'll see zombies before they see you. But these probably also eat batteries like mad)Hearing aids, (allows you to play a hearing impaired character and still hear on penalty of batteries)Hand held video game (Reduces boredom)mp3 player, (use to relieve boredom, or as an anti anxiety device, soldiers are known to do this, you're essentially deaf whilst using them though) Maybe: cheap alarms, (attach to a door or window and they start to beep when broken or opened, not sure how much use they'll be)Maybe: When advanced weapons come into the game, some sights would require batteries. You could think about Solar power chargers (Commercially available chargers exist, they don't do a good job, 2 or 3 days probably to charge up a battery, but they do work!) In real life they come in two varieties, one is stationary, set up like a crate, the other is attached to your backpack, so just having it in inventory would charge your batteries.Of course while the power is still up you could use regular battery chargers, half a day gives you a charged battery, or make it one day for two.If ever generators are introduced you could use those to charge your batteries as well as keep your fridge cold.Can you come up with other examples?