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Project Lighthouse: LittleBigPlanet Private Servers Are Closer Than You Think

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

Before we begin, it is more important than ever for me to stress that the LBP Union is not affiliated with Sony Group Corporation (collectively referred to as “Sony”) and its subordinate entities and studios. We are not the official developers of the game. By using our website you release 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 our website or any features we provide.

Image by m88youngling, edited Rae Axelle, Background by Elia Clemente (Unsplash).

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Since the LittleBigPlanet servers are now permanently shut down for PlayStation 3 and Vita consoles, online features have been unavailable for these aging games. For many, these titles were the last online games that they would play on PS3 and Vita. A lot of people assumed that this was the end of the story and that the future would only be with LittleBigPlanet 3, Sackboy: a Big Adventure, and wherever Sony decided to take the Sackboy brand next.


However, that's not necessarily true anymore. Although LittleBigPlanet 1, 2, 3, and Vita are no longer supported on these older consoles, private servers for these games are becoming more advanced and accessible than ever before. Read on to learn about Project Lighthouse, a LittleBigPlanet private server developed by the LBP Union Ministry of Technology.


A Quick Look


There is a lot I need to cover before we get into the meat of things. However, here are a few key takeaways that you should look out for,


  • The LBP Union Research and Development Team has made significant progress on ‘Project Lighthouse’, a private server that will allow real PlayStation 3 consoles and RPCS3 emulators to use online features for LittleBigPlanet

  • Project Lighthouse is being spearheaded by our lead developer Jvyden.

  • The project aims to be open source, but security is still a priority.

  • In the current stage of development, many core online features of the game are functioning, such as profiles and most importantly level publishing.

  • An official server is not yet open and more work is needed to develop the security and features of the project before any kind of open release or test is possible.

  • You will need either an emulator like RPCS3 with RPCN or a PlayStation 3 with Custom Firmware (CFW) or Hybrid Firmware (HFW). This is not just for the current stage of development. Without one of these requirements, you will not be able to use a private server.

Servers Shuttered


On September 13th, the developers of LittleBigPlanet officially shut down the game servers for PlayStation 3 and Vita. This restricted all online features for every game except LBP3 PS4. It’s also worth noting that it’s impossible to use multiplayer in LBP3 PS4 without paying for a PlayStation Plus subscription. Porting user generated content over from a previous title onto the PS4 without modification of the console is also impossible.


This result was disappointing to many, but many veterans saw it coming eventually. We just never knew when.


The server shutdown is the end of an era, but it’s also the start of a new one. Now that the developers have ended support for these older titles, it has become a bit more acceptable (more on that later) to modify the game and the console to enable private servers.


Enter Project Lighthouse


The idea for Project Lighthouse came to me earlier this year when I imagined that the official servers might shut down soon. I imagined a space elevator referred to as the Lighthouse from Ace Combat 7, a megastructure that could propel humanity to the stars to do what was never thought possible.




I like to imagine that our project is like a space elevator. We aren’t just preserving LittleBigPlanet’s online features: we’re propelling the community into a new future of possibility and creativity.


When Jvyden joined our R&D team, things really kicked off. In a matter of a few weeks, Project Lighthouse was ready for private testing with level loading and other features. Various other members of our R&D team have tested and used the server which has led to a great deal of progress on the project.


What Can Project Lighthouse Do?


Project Lighthouse can do a lot of interesting things right now, such as,


  • You can edit your own Earth and publish levels.

  • Online player counts are supported.

  • Hearting and queuing levels.

  • Level search.

  • Level publishing.

  • Level loading.


We’ve even had multiplayer sessions on real hardware!



An in-game screenshot of our technicians Frickinfire and Ture, showing the first words ever said on Project Lighthouse! The first words? “Fart”.

A screenshot containing a Discord screen-share of the second-ever Lighthouse multiplayer session. This was an extremely scuffed playthrough of Tower of Whoop with our Developer ashifterTGT and our Technician frickinfire.


Can I Connect to Project Lighthouse Right Now?


Unfortunately at the time of writing, Project Lighthouse’s development server is not currently open to the public. It is in private testing mainly due to privacy/security concerns.


When Will it Be Available?


We aren’t sure when Project Lighthouse will be available to the public.

When Lighthouse is available, it will be open source. However, there are some concerns to be addressed related to this, like security.


As development continues, a public beta will eventually be available to help test the stability and functionality of the server.


How Secure is Project Lighthouse?


At the moment? Not very. It’s currently using HTTP, an unsecure protocol that the official servers used to use. At the moment the servers on PS4 are using HTTPS, a more secure connection type. Project Lighthouse will eventually use HTTPS.


Although the software will be open source, our primary goal is to make it as secure as possible so that users on the client side cannot exploit the software to perform malicious actions in the game.