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Microsoft BMP files have a "monochrome" mode which uses just one bit per pixel (the file is still slightly larger due to meta-data). Note that this only applies to the actual graphic files. When you have your graphics framework unpack the image files to textures, the required texture memory might be more than 1bpp.


Use zip format, and take advantage of vast infrastructure of existing tools.


Since your data is changing constantly it's not enough to store an index and keep 'subfiles' of data. This is easy to deal with in ram as separate loosely affiliated data structures but will require writing out the ENTIRE file every time you update some values. The situation you describe is basically what a database is for. A database will store your data ...


To do this efficiently the first chunk of data in your file will need to be some kind of index or table-of-contents. Each row of this index refers to a distinct chunk of serialized data within the archive, a "sub-file." At a minimum, each row need only contain the offset to the actual sub-file data within the archive. For example, if you use filename ...

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