Day and night cycles are pretty standard features of just about any game these days. It makes the world appear more immersive and realistic and talking about immersion, Skyrim’s world excels at that. Having said that, players are wondering how does Skyrim’s day cycle work and how long is it?
One Skyrim hour equals 3 minutes in real life, this translates to Skyrim’s day and night being 72 minutes long. Skyrim’s day cycle affects numerous mechanics of the game such as fast traveling and NPC traveling in general. Although it is not recommended to tamper with it, there are console commands that are used to either slow down or speed up the day cycle in Skyrim.
Now that you know exactly how long Skyrim’s day is, it’s time to analyze this in a bit more detail. If you’re interested in more temporal metrics related to Skyrim as well as how to slow down or speed up time in Skyrim, stay with us and keep reading.
How long is a Skyrim day cycle?
Skyrim’s whole day is about 72 minutes long, in other words, 1 hour and 12 minutes. When you break that down into hours it would mean that 1 Skyrim hour is 3 real-life minutes, and 20 Skyrim minutes are 1 real-life minute.
The passing of time dictates some mechanics, for instance, time passes as you fast travel. If you fast travel while on foot more time will pass than if you decide to fast travel while on horseback. If you attempt to fast travel while riding a dragon you will spawn near-instantly to the location of your choice and you will notice that almost no time has passed.
Skyrim has a pretty advanced calendar as well with 12 months corresponding to the 12 months you can find in real life. The number of days in each month corresponds to its real-life equivalent. For example the second month in Skyrim “Sun’s Dawn” has only 28 days, this corresponds to the second month in real life February which has 28 days as well.
Lore-wise, numerous holidays are celebrated all across Tamriel, some have been implemented in the past games. This is not the case with Skyrim as in vanilla games no holiday is celebrated. There are mods that implement holidays so you can get that feeling that the game is actually passing instead of just seeing the names on the months on screen while you’re using the “Wait” functionality.
One such mod is “Holidays” which implements several lore-based holidays which are celebrated across Skyrim. Decorations are placed, and discounts are given in specific shops and inns. Food is placed on the street so NPCs can join the festivities and celebrate. You can download Holidays mod for Skyrim Special Edition by following this link.
Can you slow down time in Skyrim?
You can slow down time temporarily by using the “Slow Time” Shout and you can slow down the day cycle permanently by using console commands. While slowing down time with a shout is a completely harmless and normally implemented mechanic in the game, tampering with timescale by using in-game commands can result in your game glitching and your world not loading properly while you’re fast traveling. In the rest of this post, we’re going to explain both approaches.
Slowing down time in Skyrim with a shout
Slow time shout (Tiid-Klo-Ul) allows you to slow down time to 30/20/10 of normal speed depending on the word of power that you have collected so far. It affects both the player and NPCs but not to the same extent, as the player is not as affected and is able to move much faster compared to NPCs.
All actions that NPCs attempt while the shout is active will be drastically slowed down and you will be able to counter them or dodge them on time. Learning the first word of the shout (Tiid) will slow down time by 30 % for 8 seconds, and learning the second word (Klo) slows time to 20% of normal speed for 12 seconds. The third word (Ul) that makes the shout the most powerful slows time to 10% of normal speed for 16 seconds.
Two out of three words are quest-locked and can be found during quests at Korvanjund and Labyrinthian. The first word needs to be learned at Hag’s End and is the only word in the shout freely available to the player no matter the quest you’re currently on.
Slowing time down by using console commands
You can slow time down on a more permanent basis by using the console commands. This will not slow down the movements of NPCs or the player, it will instead affect the day/night cycle and the rate at which the hours are passing. The command to change how fast the time advances in the game is set timescale to <number>. The default rate is set to 20 which means that every 20 minutes in Skyrim one minute in real life will pass. Setting this value to 1 will result in 1 minute in Skyrim being translated to 1 minute in real life.
You can use this command to speed up time as well. Setting the rate to 60 means that one hour in Skyrim will translate to 1 minute in real life. This will shorten Skyrim’s day to just 24 real-life minutes. Setting the rate to 0 will result in the current time of the day you have in the game being completely frozen.
It is not recommended however to tamper with this command since it can glitch out your game seriously. If your timescale is set to 0 NPCs are unable to cross cell boundaries, it may also prevent your game from loading properly while you’re fast traveling.
And that’s pretty much it, everything you need to know about Skyrim’s day cycle and how to alter it. If you’re interested in more Skyrim-related guides make sure to check out our guide on flying in Skyrim and our dragging mechanic overview.