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LittleBigPlanet Karting Custom Servers: PL Garage!

LBP Union and PL Garage are not affiliated with Sony Interactive Entertainment or their subsidiaries. PL Garage is a clean room reverse engineering project of now defunct PlayStation 3 LittleBigPlanet Karting 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 PL Garage custom servers for LittleBigPlanet.


On August 31st, 2016, the online servers for LittleBigPlanet Karting shut down. This made it impossible to play with friends online and to play levels made by other users. However, that's not the end of the story. Seven years later, LittleBigPlanet Karting custom servers are back under development by the community!


Meet Jackcaver

There have been several LBPK projects attempted in the past by the community, but none have come as far as LBPU R&D Technician Jackcaver's custom server project he calls 'Project Lighthouse: Garage'. He says that he started the project because he "bored by the fact that [he couldn't] play the game even though [he] bought the game just a few days prior." It just goes to show that where these games truly shine is in their online connectivity.


A screenshot of the LBP Karting custom server repository on Github.
The PLGarage Github repository.

Jackcaver joined the LBP Union Research and Development team to share knowledge about his Karting server, get assistance with his project, and to potentially contribute to Project Lighthouse. However, as it stands right now, Project Lighthouse and LBP Karting are currently incompatible. The Karting project is developed primarily by Jackcaver, but he has recently made the project open source just like Project Lighthouse! "I just want to keep it open to anyone," he says. "Everybody should be able to use it, even if it gets taken down by Sony."


About PL Garage

Jackcaver's LBP Karting custom server was originally written in Javascript, but later was rewritten and continued in C#. It's still a work in progress. There are still plenty of features left to implement. Jackcaver says that the project is especially challenging because "the bombd (Bomb Server) connection is forced to use TLS, which means that I cannot get any info from packet captures since I have no idea how to decrypt it."


Revackcaj's LBP Karting profile.
User profiles are working in LBP Karting.

TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. It's a way of encrypting data so that it can be used by the client and server but not understood by the user or a third party. This is important for security, but bad for reverse engineering projects like this one.


LBP Karting Server in Action


A leaderboard seen from the pod.
Scores can be submitted on the LBP Karting server.

Jackcaver's first beta testers for PL Garage are Kairos (Er_BiyanoXD) and Penguinskillcaps! Together, Jackcaver, Kairos and Penguinskillcaps have tested various parts of the server like leaderboards.


A LBP Karting scoreboard with Er_BiyanoXD, Revackcaj, and Kairoseasybro.
Scoreboards work!

Aside from scores, it looks like the pod computer is usable with online features like community levels.

A screenshot of LBP Karting custom server team picks.
Community levels work in Jackcaver's LBP Karting custom server.

Will LBP Karting Ever be Supported by Project Lighthouse?

This is a question that we get often. LBP Karting has a completely different server architecture to the mainline LittleBigPlanet games. In fact, LBP Karting's server is very similar to the server used by Modnation Racers! Jackcaver says that he's even tested Modnation Racers with a few modifications, and it works!


A screenshot of a user-generated comment by Revackcaj that says ear with a smiling emoticon.
Level comments in LittleBigPlanet Karting


LBP Karting's online features are not yet fully understood. This is made tougher by the fact that it uses TLS for communications. This means that it's harder to reverse engineer it and see exactly what is being communicated between the client and the server. Perhaps sometime in the distant future, there will be a time that both Project Lighthouse and Jackcaver's PL Garage can be united. However, for now, they need to be developed separately.


Can I Use LBP Karting Custom Servers Right Now?


Jackcaver provides the following warning in the Readme file for PLGarage,


WARNING: this software is not ready to be used in a public instance as it contains some very serious security vulnerabilities.

If you do know how to build the software, perhaps you could use it since PLGarage is open source. However, it's nowhere near ready to be used in a public environment. Use it at your own risk. More development time is needed.


Help Develop Online Features for LBP Karting!

The best thing about Jackcaver's project is that it's open source. Anyone can contribute to the PL Garage, just like the main Project Lighthouse! You can see the source code and contribute to it by heading over to the repository on Github.


Preserving LittleBigPlanet is very important to all of us. Thank you for reading! If you have any questions about the LittleBigPlanet Karting custom server project, please leave a comment down below!