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Lighthouse January 2022 Dev Log: LittleBigPlanet Custom Server Progress!

LBP Union and Project Lighthouse are not affiliated with Sony Computer 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 Computer 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.

Hello, everyone, and Happy New Year! I’m jvyden, LBP Union R&D lead developer working on Project Lighthouse. It’s been a while since our article announcing Project Lighthouse, and many things have happened since then, so I figured I would start writing monthly blog posts about updates, new features, plans for the future, and generally all things Lighthouse. This is the first of many.

There’s a lot of interesting things to go over, (especially considering this post covers two months of events), so stay tuned!

Dev Log Videos

Before I talk about the latest updates, I would like to let you know that I occasionally make Dev Log videos about Lighthouse on my YouTube channel. There have been some updates since this video was released, but I put out this video last month about some of the recent changes to Lighthouse. Be sure to check it out!

LBP1 and (Partially) LBP3 Support

There are a few important updates that Lighthouse has received over the past few months that have improved compatibility with LBP1 and LBP3. The first being support for the digest key and basic functionality of LBP3’s community tab.

Digest Key

After the last article was published, our Lead Developer Aklnthndr decided to look into supporting LBP3. He discovered that LBP3 will ignore responses without a proper digest. A digest is, in short, something we call a 'hash' that the server and client exchange to verify that data was sent correctly.

All games require a digest, but LBP2 for some odd reason does not care if the digest is not included. The digest must also contain a special string called a “digest key”. We’re pretty sure we can’t include this in the server, so instance admins must find it on their own and set it manually. If they don't, LBP1 and LBP3 will not work. We are investigating other solutions.

The reason we cannot include the digest key with the Lighthouse source code is because it’s information that comes directly from the original servers. Lighthouse is a clean-room project that completely reverse engineers the online features of LittleBigPlanet with original code. We don’t want to distribute any kind of proprietary information or files in order to maintain compliance with the law.

LBP3 Community Tab

LBP3 has a vastly improved community tab. Unfortunately, at the time of writing we have not finished implementing the community tab, but we have started work on it.

A screenshot of a work-in-progress LBP3 community tab on a developer build of Project Lighthouse.

The interesting part is that the server maintainer has the ability to add or remove a column from the community tab. They can even make their own custom ones. Sumo Digital occasionally will add a custom column for holidays or other events on the official server, but it's interesting that they didn't do much other than this. It’s possible that in the future, Lighthouse server owners will be able to create their own custom columns in the community tab to make their servers more unique.

Diving In

The ability to dive in on LBP2 has been implemented, and while it has a few flaws, it works! Unfortunately, at the time of writing this, Dive In will only work on real hardware since LBP P2P does not yet work on RPCS3. This will only work on LBP2, since LBP3 uses a different method of diving in.