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A question of timing


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I'm still relatively new to being a Fate Master, mostly because my group meets only sporadically (it was a hell of thing getting everyone together on a regular basis for the  Nythera event), but I would like to take a crack at running a more standardized convention game. But they want to know how long my game is going to take. 

When you combine my inexperience with my group's play style ("Wait! He mentioned there were shops on the street, we need to investigate each one at length!") I am having a hard time judging how long a fairly straight forward one off event might take. 
My idea is a straight up three scene introduction adventure: one short intro battle (to give a taste for combat), one skill based tracking/investigation scene (to give a taste for skill work), and then a boss fight at the end (because boss fight= sense of accomplishment)

how long have your groups taken to get through something like this in the past? I figure I will need to add a little time for a learning curve (since it is a convention, I'm hoping to attract some people new to the game) but I don't want the game to seem rushed, or too unorganized if I have to stretch for too much time. If I can get an educated guess from experienced Fatemasters, it would be helpful.

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Having run convention games, I'd say anywhere from two to three hours, assuming you're taking time to explain the setting and mechanics. Some people will jump in and power through to the end, while others will take the time to talk things out in character and search for clues. You really get a mix of different playstyles at conventions, which is pretty fun.

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I run a lot of convention events, and I am also on the RPG staff of Kublacon, one of the largest conventions on the West Coast.  Generally I plan for a plot that takes roughly half the scheduled time of the event.  That means if the players knew everything at every point and went straight from A to B to C and so on, that it should take about half the event time to complete.  Why do I only plan for a plot that's half as long as the time I have to fill?

In general, I expect...

1)  A significant amount of time to be used in role-playing encounters.  While it may be the case that Jimmy the Batboy only has one piece of information to pass on, the players may not know that or may not figure it out immediately (despite many hints...).

2)  Players to be using time role-playing with each other in character, and deciding what it is they would like to do next. 

3)  The game, at some point, almost invariably goes "off the rails" to a greater or lesser extent, and allowing players the time to pursue and exhaust red herrings or plot outliers in a more organic way is more fulfilling.

I also know that I can use certain stumbling blocks, most notably combat (though there are certainly others) to control the pacing.  If the group is racing ahead of schedule, a speed bump fight can be just the thing to both eat up time and inspire some caution.  Conversely, if they are too slow, eliminating a planned fight or manipulating the results to make it end quicker can get them where they "should" be faster.

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