LBP Union and Project Lighthouse are not affiliated with Sony Interactive Entertainment or their subsidiaries. Project Lighthouse is a clean room reverse engineering project of now defunct PlayStation 3 and Vita LittleBigPlanet online features. No proprietary code is distributed. Under no circumstances will we endorse or support piracy. You must have your own copy of the game in order to use the custom features once they become available. When using these features, you release Sony Interactive Entertainment (Sony) as well as any employees or agents of Sony, from any and all liability, corporate, or personal loss caused to you or others by the use of Lighthouse custom servers for LittleBigPlanet.
Written by m88youngling and indo2042
After the 2021 server attacks, the LittleBigPlanet servers on PlayStation 3 were sadly sunset in September that year. After September 13th, LittleBigPlanet’s online features on PS3 and Vita were permanently discontinued. However, there is a way to play community levels with your friends once again! In this guide, we’ll show you how to patch LittleBigPlanet PS3 for Project Lighthouse, a custom LBP server!
Patching LittleBigPlanet 1, 2 and 3 on PS3 to connect to a custom server isn’t as hard as you might think! To get started, you’ll need a few things. We’ll show you how to get each of them!
- A CFW or HFW PlayStation 3
- Patched LBP1, 2, or 3 EBOOT file.
- A PC, or Linux computer.
- A flash drive.
If you need a PlayStation 3 or a flash drive, don’t despair. They are easy to get! We suggest grabbing a PS3 earlier than the latest model, such as a fat or a normal slim. The super slim can still play on LittleBigPlanet Project Lighthouse servers, but it can only use hybrid firmware and not custom firmware. More on that later!
You can find a PS3 on Amazon! They are relatively inexpensive. When shopping for a flash drive for your PS3, make sure that your USB stick is FAT32 compatible! If not, you’ll need to format it to FAT32. A few things to remember:
- It’s not that difficult!
- Jailbreaking your PlayStation 3 is reversible if you ever want to go back to normal.
- Running homebrew utilities can actually extend the life of your console. For example, normal PS3s have a fan speed cap somewhere around 30%. Homebrew can make the fan spin faster to keep your PS3 cooler.
- The risk of being banned is low.
1. Get CFW or HFW For Your PlayStation 3
Let’s talk about how to unlock the potential of your PlayStation 3 with CFW or HFW. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds, and all changes are completely reversible!
Is it Legal?
Yes, it is legal to jailbreak your PlayStation 3 and modify your copy of the game. However, it may be against PlayStation Network’s Terms of Service. This means that they may be able to terminate your access to the service at any time. However, none of our beta testers from 2021 to the present have been banned by PSN for using LittleBigPlanet custom servers.
Why Do I Need to Jailbreak my PS3 to Play LittleBigPlanet Online?
Many have suggested that a DNS redirect could be used to play LittleBigPlanet online on PS3 without jailbreaking your console. This would be a lot easier and faster but unfortunately, it’s just not possible due to the way the game was created. The game’s files point directly to Sony’s now defunct game server, and without Sony’s SSL certificate, a DNS redirect would never work.
Should I Use Custom Firmware or Hybrid Firmware to Play LBP Online?
If we can’t use a DNS redirect, our goal then is to change the server address that the game points to. However, this means that we have to modify the game. Sony designed the PlayStation 3 to not run modified games. So, we have to change that! We have two choices:
- Custom Firmware (CFW): full jailbreak. This allows you to have advanced permissions and control over your PlayStation 3. Does not work on Super Slim models.
- Hybrid Firmware (HFW): a step between official firmware (OFW) and CFW. The most popular PS3 HFW is Homebrew Enabler (HEN). This allows us to run modified games but is missing some features and the convenience of CFW.
Realistically, either of these two methods work just fine for playing LBP online. The only thing that matters is your personal preference.
CFW is easier to use but can sometimes be slightly more difficult to set up. HFW is arguably easier to set up and is compatible with more PS3 models. However, it is a little less convenient to use. Here’s some more details on firmware compatibility:
|Homebrew Enabler (HEN/HFW)||✓||✓||✓|
|Evilnat (CFW)||✓||CECH-20xxA – CECH-25xxB||✕|
There are some great tutorials online about getting CFW and HFW! Choose the tutorial that’s right for you. We recommend HEN for beginners, and CFW for those who are more experienced. Remember, you can always upgrade to CFW from HEN at any time! Here’s our favorite tutorial about installing PS3 HEN:
And here’s our favorite tutorial on PS3 CFW (Evilnat):
If you choose to use HEN, you will come to a point in the tutorial video where you need to go to an enabler website at ps3xploit.me. If this isn’t working for you or the website isn’t available, you can use our mirror of the enabler. For most cases, choose HEN Enabler → Official Flash.
Patching Console [CFW]
If you choose to use CFW, there will be a point in the tutorial video where you will need to use the PS3 Flash Writer. Here is a link to the PSX-Place forum post where you can set up and self-host the flash writer.
You’ll need the following homebrew applications installed to your PS3 to continue patching to connect to LittleBigPlanet custom servers:
- Multiman: a file manager for PS3.
- Webman: homebrew tools that allow you to transfer files between your computer and your PS3 easily, as well as many other features.
2. Patching Your LBP EBOOT
Congratulations! You now have a PlayStation 3 that can run unsigned code. This means you can run modified games. Now it’s time to modify your copy of LittleBigPlanet. The file we need to modify is called EBOOT.BIN. This is where much of the game’s binary data is stored.
We need to change, or patch, the server URL in the EBOOT.BIN file to a server of our choice. Let’s choose Beacon, LBP Union’s custom LittleBigPlanet server!
Do Not Share EBOOT Files
Remember, your game files are copyrighted. Having a friend send you an already patched EBOOT.BIN file is piracy! Be respectful to Sony and their intellectual property.
How to Use UnionPatcher to Change LittleBigPlanet’s Server Address
We created a tool that makes patching LittleBigPlanet easy! UnionPatcher is a utility that allows you to remotely patch your EBOOT.BIN file from your computer. This requires you to have Webman mod installed on your PlayStation 3. Here’s how to do it:
- Download the latest version of UnionPatcher.
- Extract the ZIP file to a folder of your choice.
- Download the .NET 6.0.5 desktop runtime (UnionPatcher needs this to work.) Linux users can use this alternative download.
- Double click on UnionPatcher.Windows.exe on Windows. Linux users should find UnionPatcher.Linux.
- Start up your PS3. If you have HEN, enable it. Make sure Webman is running.
- Press the Start and Select buttons at the same time on your controller. A notification will appear with your PS3’s local IP address. Keep track of this. It may change every time you reboot.
- Find your game’s title ID. It should be written on the side of your box.
- In UnionPatcher, type the local IP address of your PS3 into the appropriate box.
- Type your game’s title ID.
- Paste the server URL of your choice. In our case, it’s http://lighthouse.lbpunion.com/LITTLEBIGPLANETPS3_XML
- Click Patch.
Troubleshooting UnionPatcher Problems
Make sure that your Webman settings are configured correctly. You’ll need to make sure PS3MAPI is enabled. You can see the setting for this shown below.
For disc users, you’ll find the title ID of your game on the side of the box. Sometimes this title ID will be incorrect, or you may have a digital copy. In these cases, you should refer to the table below to test for other title IDs.
IDs starting with BC are physical copies, and IDs starting with NP are digital (PSN) copies. EX: BCUS98245 and NPUA80662.
Title ID Table
Here is a complete list of all LittleBigPlanet title IDs for PlayStation 3:
BCUS98208 Game of the Year Edition [US]
BCES00611 Game of the Year Edition [EU]
BCES01693 Extras Edition [EU]
Watch Your Spelling
Additionally, be very careful not to misspell the server URL! Any problems here will result in you not being able to connect to online features.
Help! I Can’t Run UnionPatcher!
In some situations, you may not be able to run UnionPatcher. If you don’t have a compatible computer, you might have this problem. Unfortunately, there is no way to patch an EBOOT.BIN file using an Android or iOS device.
One alternative to UnionPatcher is to manually decrypt and patch the EBOOT.BIN file with tools such as TrueAncestor, ESSSE resigner, and a hex editor like HXD. We’ll save these instructions for another advanced tutorial in the future.
3. Connecting to Beacon
Now that you have custom or hybrid firmware and a patched LittleBigPlanet EBOOT.BIN file, you’re ready to connect to a Project Lighthouse server! The LittleBigPlanet community is waiting for you on Beacon, so let’s talk about how to get started:
- Power on your PS3.
- If you have HEN, enable it.
- Go to the PSN sign-in screen. If Webman is working correctly and you have HEN enabled, it will force you to press R2 and Triangle at the same time to clear your syscalls. You may need to do this multiple times before you can sign in.
- Start up your patched version of LittleBigPlanet.
- If you did everything right up until this point and Beacon is online, you will be greeted by an announcements screen with further instructions. Congratulations!
Note: as of the writing of this guide, Beacon has not yet entered public beta. You’ll need to wait until public beta on March 6th, 2023 to connect to Beacon.
Set Your Email
From here, the next thing you’ll need to do is set your email address. This will allow you to sign into Beacon’s website to access your profile, see levels, privacy settings, and more! To set your email, type the phrase /setemail [your email] in LittleBigPlanet while connected to the server. Replace [your email] with an email address of your choice. Then, press enter to send the message. After some time, you will receive an email from us so you can set up your account.
Connect Your PSN to Beacon
The final step in setting up your account is to verify your PSN. On the Beacon website, click on the Authentication tab. When you connect to the server, an authentication request will appear here. If you recognize the IP address as your own, click approve. This will link your PSN account to your Beacon account. You’ll only have to do this once!
LittleBigPlanet: Back Online!
Congratulations, you’ve successfully jailbroken your PlayStation 3, patched your game, and are ready to play LittleBigPlanet online again! This process can be a little tricky sometimes, so don’t be afraid to ask for help! Seek out assistance from other community members in the comments below or join our Discord server today!
Thank you for reading! We can’t wait to see you on Beacon!
Thanks to LoganTGT for writing the original UnionRemotePatcher guide (now outdated), which this tutorial borrowed some images from.