links to level design communities, websites, discords, podcasts, blogs, social media
Find a level design community
There are many benefits to joining a level design community:
help with design problems / troubleshooting tools
provide critical feedback for your work
motivation and encouragement
If you join a game-specific community they can offer focused help / experience, and they are much more likely to playtest your work and give good feedback.
For game-specific level design communities, see the "Community" column in Tools.
However, there are some generalist level design communities:
#blocktoberis an annual internet tradition where level designers post blockout screenshots on Twitter during the month of October. The most popular tweets usually come from AAA industry level designers posting blockouts of their work from famous commercial games.
MapCoreis one of the longest running active message boards for level design, and focuses mainly on Source Engine games (CS:GO, Team Fortress 2) but many members also regularly mod other games and use Unity and Unreal. Mix of modders and industry users.
The Design Den is a Discord community for level designers founded by Ryan Smith.
There are also environment art communities:
Polycount is best for 3D environment artists, lighting artists, and anyone concerned more with the visual side of level design. Projects skew heavily towards Unreal Engine 4 scenes with Maya / Max / ZBrush / Blender know-how. No one here will ever playtest your project, but they will happily critique screenshots or video. Mix of students and industry users.
80 Level features news, articles, and guides for game / film / VFX artists. It is often very technical and tool focused, usually focusing on pipeline and workflow with visual-oriented breakdowns of particular scenes or projects.
Beyond Extent features interviews with environment artists, articles and guides, as well as a podcast. Like other CG art communities, it focuses on tools and techniques.
look at all these happy people sharing the same space; this too could be you if you join a level design community
Theory, writing, criticism
Venues / publications
GDC Level Design Summit (formerly Level Design Workshop, Level Design In A Day) is a full day of talks from industry and indie level designers every year. After many years it has found a medium-sized audience at GDC. Unfortunately there's no convenient list of past sessions, but maybe we'll put that together someday.
Open submissions every summer / autumn.
Heterotopias is probably the premier level design criticism publication at the moment, featuring short blog posts as well as long-form features and interviews.
Commissions and pitches year-round, pays writers.
Game Maker's Toolkit (GMTK) is a very popular game design analysis YouTube channel by Mark Brown. He often critiques levels and makes good points, but we want to caution you, he doesn't quite have the personal experience of actually working as a level designer.
Below are some fun Twitter accounts which exist solely to post screenshots of community levels; they're good to follow because seeing more levels will help you train your eye for level design, and it's fun to see what other people make.