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> However, I've not given up the idea of embedding several files in an
> executable as a virtual read-only filesystem, complete with directory
> trees. I've found that the CPIO format is a simple as you get for
> this task. And it's seekable so you don't need to expand the archive
> into a temporary directory.    
I made such a file system using ZIP files for a project that I'm no
longer working on. It was meant to be a Lua game framework using SDL.
The ZIP file was wrapped by SDL_Rwops streams and I used lua_load to
read from them.

Changing it to read from ZIP files located at the end of executables and
dropping the SDL_Rwops wrapper is easy...

Andre de Leiradella