As we wait patiently for the LittleBigPlanet servers to return, you may have seen or heard about the LittleBigPlanet Image CDN. But what is it and why is it important for us to keep track of?
Lots of Images
LittleBigPlanet has to deal with a lot of information and data. This doesn't just include levels and profile information. One of the most important parts of the game's inner workings is the storage of images. The LittleBigPlanet image CDN is where all uploaded images, level badges, and sticker textures are stored.
The game server or the currently offline lbp.me website pulls images from this image CDN server. However, 'server' is a bit of a misnomer.
What is a Content Delivery Network?
A content delivery network (CDN) is not a single server, but instead a group of servers that can provide images, videos, webpages, and other content to users. In this case, LittleBigPlanet uses a CDN for distributing images.
The group of servers is not concentrated in one single location. Instead, they are spread out across the world. This enables faster loading times for people in different regions. This is done on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) network. You can learn more about how LittleBigPlanet runs on the AWS network in this article.
Monitoring the Image CDN
Alright, the image CDN has images...so what? We are currently automatically monitoring the image CDN on our Discord server and also manually displaying changes on our server status dashboard, and there's a good reason for it. Although the main LittleBigPlanet servers are offline, the image CDN used for LittleBigPlanet 1, 2, and 3 is still online!
It's important to remember that the image CDN and the main game server are not the same. Just because the CDN is online does not mean that the game server is. They are completely separate. In fact, there are two image networks, one for LBP 1-3 and one for LBP Vita. As of the writing of this post, the network for Vita is offline.
Although the game server is not available, it's interesting that the image network is still up at the time this article was written. Although many users believe that LittleBigPlanet has been abandoned due to the extended silence from the developers, the fact that the image network is still up and running suggests that some element of the official servers is still alive.
Also, sometimes the status of the image CDN changes. Our Discord bot, Agent Washington, can detect these changes. Any change in the status can indicate that work is being done on the servers. We are also monitoring the main game servers for LBP 1-3 and Vita. Be sure to join our Discord server so that you're the first to know when the servers go back online! You can also keep an eye on our server status dashboard webpage.
Archiving the Image CDN
There is some talk in the community from more tech savvy players about archiving the LittleBigPlanet image CDN. Every photo that anyone has ever uploaded to LittleBigPlanet is stored here, as well as every level badge. These images are publicly accessible if you have the right URL. However, without knowing what you're looking for, you'll likely not find much.
However, if it were possible to view every URL on the LBP image CDN, one could download them all at once using web scraping. By downloading all the images, one could archive every photo ever uploaded to the community.
I have heard some argue that this would be a breach of privacy. However, since these images were uploaded to the public by users by their own free will, there isn't much of an issue with privacy on the surface. However, if the image CDN contains more data and files that we aren't supposed to access, then that could be a problem.
For example, if the image CDN contained thumbnails of every private creation in your Popit that you have not released to the public, then that could be pretty bad.
At the moment, however, it doesn't seem like anyone has figured out how to archive the image CDN. With scripts set to be blacklisted and the companion website still offline, efforts to archive the image CDN are only going to get harder as time goes on.
For now, the image CDN is most interesting to us because it is still alive even though the game server is currently offline. By monitoring the image CDN in addition to the LBP game servers, we can get more clues as to what the developers are busy doing to bring multiplayer back to our favorite UGC series.
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