How to Change the Timescale in Skyrim
PC Version Only
Unfortunately, you can only use the console on the PC version of Skyrim. Which is why you should buy that version instead of a PS3 or X360 version. :)
Skyrim time moves a little more quickly than real time. For every minute that passes in real life, 20 minutes pass in Skyrim. If you find this to be a little fast or a little slow, you can change it by changing the timescale. Learn how in the article below.
Change the Timescale
To change the timescale, open the in-game console by pressing the tilde key '~' (it's on the top left corner of standard North American keyboards).
Once the console is open, type the following and press Enter: set timescale to 10
When you are done, press the tilde '~' key again to close the console. This will set the in-game time to 10 minutes for every minute of real time that passes.
You can set the time to any length you want by changing 10 to any other number. I set mine to five, because I enjoy a little more realism—but setting it to one can make things tedious.
Set it for Each Character You Create
Once you have changed your timescale, Skyrim will remember it between sessions so you don't have to reset it every time you play. If you play with a different character or go back to an old save from before you set the timescale, you will have to set it for these other saves as well.
I set the timescale every time I finish making a new character. Every save you make based on that initial save will have your custom timescale.
Possible Unintended Side Effects
Whenever you make a change like this to a game, there is always the chance that it will have unintended consequences.
In Oblivion, for example, when you set the timescale too low, it would prevent a certain quest from advancing. You could fix this by resetting the timescale to the default value (30 in Oblivion) until you are done the quest and then reset it back to your preferred time. That should work for Skyrim as well if you encounter a similar issue.
Of course, that doesn't mean there won't be other consequences for Skyrim. However, I've been setting my timescale for Oblivion and Fallout 3 for years and never had a single issue with it and have had it set to 5 for Skyrim for over 30 hours of play without issue.
If you do encounter any issues, please leave me a comment so I can update this hub.
Update: Timescale 0 or 1 Is Bad
Since I've had a couple of commenters share their woes of setting a timescale to 0, I'm just going to add it to the article:
Don't set your timescale to 0 or 1.
Timescale 0 means you want each minute of real time to equal 0 minutes of game time (or vice versa). It doesn't work, and just breaks things.
I've also heard from a couple of people on the forums that setting your timescale to one can result in problems as well. These problems aren't as serious, but they can result in delays in AI processing and quest triggering, so it's probably best to avoid setting it to one as well.
So far, I haven't heard of anyone having any problems with a timescale of two, so that is probably the lowest safe cut-off point. As always, let me know if you have any problems or advice to share.
Showing the Current Timescale
You can view the current timescale by opening the console and typing: show timescale
This can be handy if things seem to be a little off and you want to make sure it isn't your timescale messing things up.