Loved the Houston OD. But there are a few things I think could take this out of the ballpark and hear me out.

1. So the app is ingenious and I like how if you passed an entire event you would achieve a reward in the form of a dog tag. As I was in "The Ring experience" I noticed the historian wear a fleece looking UNSC uniform. Now how cool would it be to sell those in the shop and instead of dog tags we got service ribbons like the military? They're not that much more expensive and would drive people to buy the uniform anyway to make up for the cost. Maybe have a form of discount at the store if you pass a certain rank? This discount and idea would pay or itself with people getting more involved to rank up and maybe buying a second-day pass just to get up enough for a 5% discount.

2. I know everyone was trying there best to stay and look in character, from my understanding we were supposed to be citizens and this was a form of UNSC recruitment expo.
The staff wearing the vest were alright but let's face it marines just wearing garrison uniforms would have been sweet. Maybe have a little station where kids could go and become a UNSC soldier for a little while making it feel like a real recruitment station and get a pic with a marine swearing you in behind flags. Maybe a certificate of recruitment if u paid. Maybe add in a food court area "UNSC Mess hall" with halo inspired food. It can be a burger for all anyone cares but imagine having an SGT johnson chili mac or something. Would feel in gaps.

3. The lines. I'm not the expert but those lines were like Disneyworld at peak. I know there is not a lot that can be done. Trust me I get that. This stuff is expensive. But I would recommend having 2 of the same activities to speed up and disperse lines, having more even if it was something small (like a picture with the warthog). Some things had lines that were not even an activity like pictures with cosplayers. Those small lines help disperse people and give more things to do in that time frame.

Again not really complaining, I was with a friend that really really really wanted to meet Steve Downes but didn't get to, even though that was a bummer the event itself was really good in my eyes. But I'm a person who always tries to find areas of improvement and thought I would share and hopefully, someone from 343 would see. There's a lot of smaller things but these three alone would make this a yearly trip for me and my friends.
I have three complaints, and all 3 can be fixed very easily

  1. The final gold dog tag was way to hard to get. I literally did all the events, except the PC gaming. Some events I did several times, such as Lazer tag, the ring experience, and pelican training. Other events and activities I did 3 or 4 times. Yet the only way to get a gold dog tag was to either be friends with the staff or cheat somehow. And the staff would give you shrugs or just say it's really hard to get. Then when I look around, many staff member have a gold dog tag, some even have 2 or 3 gold tags on. Heck, the dogs at the event being walked around by staff had a gold dog tag.
2. I think all the boomco activities should of used various kinds of weapons. We saw only the smg and pistol, when I know others exist. They should of at least had an assault rifle.

3. The store and mega blocks area could of had more stuff to sell. I would of liked to see some mega blocks bind bags or other sets in general.

Other than than that the event was crazy fun, each area was a blast.
I was gonna make a dedicated thread for this, but I think adding to this thread might work better, so thank you OP! I was there all day on Saturday in Houston and loved every second of it!

i think some of the points you made are excellent ideas going forward. The UNSC scientists walking around the Hall of History were great, but would be well supplemented by some UNSC marines/ODSTs walking around as well. The 405th did a great job on that front by having some folks in full cosplay walking around, so maybe that's an area that can be expanded if this event becomes an annual thing. Halo Canon made a video talking about canonizing the 405th, and I'm all for that!

As for the lines, this was 343i's first foray into running a convention, as far as I know. I'm sure they have now fully experienced the utter nightmare that is managing a sci-fi convention. A few points that my fiance (a tough cookie with a lot of experience in PR) and I noticed:
  • Some of the events obviously had massive lines, which is kind of unavoidable for the most part. But I think it can be better managed in a number of ways. For instance, the laser tag experience could cycle through players faster if it was broken up into two 2v2 matchups instead of a single 3v3 matchup. It might require a small expansion to accommodate eight players at a time instead of 6, but there was plenty of room to expand at the convention center.
  • The Ring Experience was amazing and well put together, but making it into a full structure as opposed to a collection of black cloth ringed around the exhibit would serve to isolate it a bit better and make it feel more immersive. There might be some fire code issues with that, but food for thought I guess.
From a style perspective, some of the events could benefit from a bit of decoration. If it's feasible in the future, the Pelican Simulator could be a lot more immersive if the exterior of it was an actual Pelican instead of a shipping container. This would require a lot more work of course, but it's really just a facade for the exterior. The shipping container could still be inside, just have a Pelican as the window dressing, so to speak. For the Covenant Escape Room, perhaps a bit more Covenant decoration around the outside instead of just a shipping container. This could be solved with maybe a few exhibits strewn about the waiting line, like a display with a Plasma Rifle or Energy Sword. Making the shipping container into a Covenant-style shipping container could also help.

There was also a lot of vertical space in the convention center that wasn't utilized. Hanging some decorations, like a banshee or seraph fighter would have made for some great visuals. I know that is expensive and a logistical nightmare, but if this year is as successful as we are hoping, perhaps the budget for next year could accommodate the use of vertical space. This goes for the Pelican facade on the simulator as well. Really it's all just a numbers game, so if the numbers approve, the budget could be expanded to include some scenery and decoration for all of the exhibits.

As for the museum, really that was absolutely perfect and I would only offer one point of criticism: make the font size bigger. Other than that, the open floor plan was perfect. I loved taking my fiance and a friend of ours through the experience and act as a tour guide. I finally got to nerd out hard and not feel weird about it!

Regarding the Outpost Discovery App... I have mixed feelings on it. The ability to face off against other convention-goers and level up was really cool. But the ARG seemed a bit superfluous. I liked the idea, but it didn't always work. Plus, the ARG aspect made it hard to just enjoy the exhibits when people were stepping in the way to scan the exhibits. It's not a deal breaker, but I wouldn't miss it if the ARG element was gone in the future.

On a personal note, the panels were the best part for me. I was elated to finally meet @grimbrotherone and chat with him for a few minutes. Since I couldn't meet Jen Taylor and Steve Downes, getting him to sign my AR was the highlight of my weekend. I also got to chat with him about my hopes of seeing more expanded universe content on the Interplanetary War. He even told me that the team at 343 has been wanting to write and release "A Soldier's Tale: Rainforest Wars" as a Halo novel. I'm a huge fan of in-universe content, so that practically made me squeal with delight to know that the team at least has that on their mind.

TL;DR Outpost Discovery was a rousing success, and I hope we will see more of it in the future. I'm really so grateful that my fiance can finally appreciate what the heck is going on when I'm playing Halo in the living room XD
I really liked the app, it worked very well for me. But for others it crashed. Here's my opinion of the app.

  • I liked the leaderboards and comparing different stats to other people at the event
  • I disliked how some medals to be earned were imposiable, such as touring to all the events. Also due to other issues, some QR codes weren't available until Saturday meaning Friday goers didn't get to scan it.
  • Incoming rant. The boomco target range and vr fighting medals were crazy hard to get. This was due to the requirements for the medals and how the actual activities ran in real life. The target range often didn't register, and the VR was glitchy, for instance people falling off map or going into sky. I know this was due to the height of the players but still. Also the VR seemed to be glitched with damage output, because I died too much or seemed to do no damage. I get that this might be to a learning curve, as in, I'm just not used to it or just plain bad. But still most of the time I spent either waiting for tech support or getting one shot in game. Maybe if the line wasn't as bad I wouldn't be as upset or just get to play more.
  • I wish we had more stuff to scan both in the hall of history, the data codes, and the event scans like the mega blocks and cosplay.
  • I wish we got medals for being vip or being at the event all 3 days.
  • It would be nice to get a few more Spartans to pick from instead of just two. The part where it gives you a designation like Zulu of foxtrot was a very nice touch that I liked very much. It was really cool to see in the VR fighting. However I with it used it in laser tag for both the gun and leaderboard after game.
Getting ready to go in Anaheim, these posts have helped to prioritize and get a plan together. Thanks!
Quick tip, the area where you can just shoot people with boom co halo guns was a ton of fun and the lines were short. I personally found it to be a hidden gem at halo Outpost discovery.

Also, for the laser tag, I think they can shoot the end of your gun to deal damage. Be aware where your gun is and where your sheilds are. Taking cover and piping in and out of cover is a must to survive and wrack up those kills. Another tip is that you can rush their spawn and spawn trap the other team. Just be aware that running isn't allowed and after a warning, they send you out of the game and back to the end of the line.

I have other very useful tips but I don't want to ruin new experiences, hard work, and sweet victories.
The only attractions we got to do were the pelican trainer and the ring experience. If you like the lore of halo then the ring is almost a must but the line is quite long at first. Id picks at least one of the big 3 that I saw that had huge lines (VR, Covenant escape, Laser tag) and just gun for one right off the bat. depending on if you wanted to do a tournament or panels you should be able to get through one of those if you come early before 1230 ish. If you're still good on time immediately go to the next big attraction. We were literally in the line for VR for about 45 minutes and the staff came and cut off the line saying it will be approximately 3 hours and we would be the last few lefts, this was end of day but you get the memo that these are big lines and if you hit them earlier then what we did you you would only have a few hours at the end of 2 of these bigger ones.

At this point, if my math is good you would have 2 big events done by should be no later then 4. Which again ios enough time to hit another big one if you want to wait but the smaller events and HoH and playing halo with the community and friends is what really brought this in for me. If you take about an hour or two to eat and just look at the HoH, Cosplay and post exchange and just relax while the crowds start dispersing you will notice the pelican, range, and ring experience, and gaming areas die down and you can probably fit a few of those in before 7.

All in all, There is NO WAY you can do everything in one day. my group got to skip a line (Long story) and we still didn't even get to do half the events there. But if I knew what I knew now I could probably get through it all in 2 days. Especially if I left out the app, which if you have ungodly slow internet you're going to cry.