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where to start?

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well, im 15 and im interested in level design I have no code knowledge. My question to you the community is do i start just by playing around with a engine? say unreal engine, or unity. or do i go on youtube and watch tutorials, also if doing map and level design is it better for me to get a game like counter strike or half life then use source to make maps then get feedback and input from the community?
i have been doing some research into this. and i really dont know where to start lol. i have no interest in programing just design.

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If you're primarily interested in level design then go with that.

Playing with the tools can be the best way to learn so pick up the level design tools for a game and go nuts. Generally coding only comes into it for scripting and thats normally quite easy to get your head around.

I started editing levels on Quake 1, the skills learnt there are almost directly applicable to Half Life 2, Unreal 3 and current iterations of Quake.

More in depth, you have two things to learn:
- What concepts of level designs create good, playable, and replayable levels
- How to use the tool to produce those levels.

The technology alone will not produce the result, so learn the concepts (some books cover the ideas around it) and then you apply the concepts to what ever technology you choose to use.

Having friends who play the game can be good, produce fun and challenging levels for them and you will find that others will likely play them too.

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