Goats are funny. Search YouTube for "goat noises" and see the millions of view counts. Man-made goat impressions are just as funny :

This was all the encouragement I needed. How could I turn goat noises into a game?

It was May 2013. The idea I had was to play a goat noise and let the player decide if it was a man or a goat. The following todo list took over my spare time :

  • Figure out how to get hundreds of goat noises
  • Record hundreds of my own goat impressions
  • Learn how to make games for iOS

Only three things on the list, this won't take long at all. Wrong.

Figuring out how to get hundreds of goat noises

How would you do it?

I looked at online sources but most of the noises sounded the same. If all the goat noises sound the same the game would get boring fast. I got permission from a few YouTube channels to use their audio but it wasn't enough by a very long way. I needed hundreds of goat noises.

At this point I suspect that a normal person would say "this is a bad idea" and start a new game idea, but I had a strong belief that the game would be funny. It ticked all the right boxes for a mobile game :

  • Unique
  • Funny
  • Easy to explain
  • Contains goats

I needed to record the goats myself.

The Garden Centre

I remembered that a local garden centre had a couple of goats in a little fenced off area so I headed there. I was acting suspiciously by staying a little too long and repeatedly returning to the goats with a hidden microphone. The owner noticed me and started following me around.

Eventually she approached and asked me if I needed any help :

"No thanks I'm just looking".

So I walked off towards the aquatic plants and briefly considered their presence in my pond. I returned to the silent goats 5 minutes later. I felt very sheepish. I couldn't really ask her if I could record her goats could I. That would be ridiculous.

After a final few minutes hanging around the goats a dark air of awkwardness surrounded the entire garden centre. I picked up a small plant and paid for it. As I was about to leave I realised that if I want to record goats I'll have to be open about it with the people who own them.

I mentioned my game idea to her and to my surprise she seemed intrigued, not alarmed. She suggested I come back at 9am tomorrow because the goats make more noise when they are about to be fed. This encouraged me and validated the idea of recording other people's goats.

That was the start of a 6 month process of approaching goat owners and recording their goats. By August 2013 I was a confident goat recorder. I could be seen bursting into goat marquees at busy country shows, saying hello to my goat-keeping friends, and brazenly pointing microphones towards vocal goats.

But it was hard.

Country shows are public places with lots of background noise :

  • People talking and giddy children
  • The hiss of ground straw being walked on
  • Tannoy announcements
  • Nearby fair attractions
  • Cacophony of goat vocalizing (to be expected)

In September 2013 with hours of footage to go through I used Audacity to pull out the good goat noises into separate files and then enhance them. IT TOOK AGES.

Here's a short video showing how I recorded most of my footage :

It got me out of the house at least.

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Download Man Or Goat now from the Apple App Store!

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