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I've painted myself into a corner and am forced to choose between abandoning a couple hours' progress or cheating my way out of it. Unfortunately, I can't find hard data on if/how the use of console commands affects the unlocking of Steam achievements.

I've heard a few conflicting theories and can think of a couple more:

  1. I have heard that using any console command, ever, permanently prevents that/all characters from unlocking achievements.
  2. I have heard that using any console command prevents you from unlocking any achievements for that "session" (variously, until you load a save or restart the game).
  3. It seems reasonable that certain console commands (such as tgm — Toggle God Mode) might prevent the unlocking of achievements while active and/or others (such as directly manipulating skills/perks/etc.) permanently block achievements for that character once used.
  4. It also seems possble that console commands have no effect on achievements whatsover (at least, I have not yet seen evidence to the contrary).

Do we have any hard info on this? Official sources, original research, anything?

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Reminds me of the gymnastics needed to cheat in Portal and still get achievements: Pause, turn on the cheat you want, save, turn off cheats, resume, and then load the save. :P –  Matthew Read Nov 21 '11 at 20:23
    
oops, just noticed the date, guess the other one is the dupe :P –  z - Nov 30 '11 at 19:25
    
possible duplicate of Does using console command mark you as cheater? –  z - Nov 30 '11 at 19:25
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7 Answers

up vote 25 down vote accepted

Console commands do not affect achievements in Skyrim. I've used it to clip through places when I ended up falling and becoming stuck and still received achievements in the same session. I've also togged tgm on occasion while testing stuff and still received achievements after I finished testing without restarting my game.

Once you get past all the speculation, this thread seems to confirm that using console commands do not affect achievements at all.

Of note from that thread:

  • One person got the buy a house achievement right after giving himself 5000 gold via additem.
  • Another person still continued to receive achievements despite walking around with an max encumbrance weight of 5000 via modav.
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To add to the list, one of my friends used a console command to finish off a ton of quests and got a flood of achievements. –  Matthew Scharley Nov 21 '11 at 21:12
    
After reading your answer, I went and joined the Companions while tgm was actually active and still got the achievement. I'm calling this one busted. –  Ben Blank Nov 21 '11 at 23:17
    
I can second the tgm and joining the Companions. Using the console does not disable your Steam achievements. –  MaleficMarauder Jan 18 '12 at 4:12
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I have used today the cheat killall on my PC to kill Ancano in the staff of magnum mission. I immediately solved the mission. I also safed the game and restarted after that. I can safely say no achievements were lost or any bad consequences

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According to this answer, Bethesda has modified the way that cheaters are flagged from how it worked in Fallout: New Vegas. Once you use a console command, you are permanently ineligible for achievements. After using a console command, your only choice is to restart or load a save prior to using a command if you want to earn achievements.

Edit It has been discovered that the above is not actually true. Console commands do NOT disqualify you from achievements. Thanks to Dave Sherohman for reminding me to update this answer

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I've just tested this, and it does not seem to be the case. I used ncl and player.additem and still got a steam achievement. See my comment on my answer for more details. –  Arkive Nov 23 '11 at 17:17
    
-1, incorrect: Using console does not disqualify you from receiving Steam achievements. –  Dave Sherohman Nov 30 '11 at 15:56
    
@DaveSherohman You're right - I had apparently forgotten to update this answer. It's updated now. Thanks! –  Dave McClelland Nov 30 '11 at 16:56
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NO, using the console does not disqualify you from gaining Steam achievements in Skyrim. I use console commands quite frequently, ranging from the innocuous (fov 90) to the uber-cheaty (tgm, tim, player.modav carryweight 1000) and have received all Steam achievements corresponding to events in my game, even within the same game session - restarting is not required.

In the most extreme case, I was playing around with player.modav dragonsouls and used my cheat-provided souls to buy levels 2 and 3 of the Throw Voice shout to see how it behaved at higher levels. When I exited the game, I noticed that I had received the achievement for unlocking all three words of a shout; this achievement was gained purely through blatant console cheating and Steam either didn't notice when my souls jumped from 0 to 100 in an instant or didn't care.

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There is absolutely nothing you can do in Skyrim that will disable your ability to receive Steam achievements, with the possible exception of playing with Steam in offline mode.

  • I use the console quite frequently, both for trivial things like setting fov 90 and for actual cheats like using tcl to get up a mountain and tgm or tim to get back down. Even within the same session, achievements have continued to register normally. In one case, I was messing around with player.setav dragonsouls, unlocked the third tier of a shout, and accidentally got the corresponding achievement entirely through pure, blatant cheating which would have been trivially detectable if anyone had bothered to look.

  • I play with hand-tweaked ini files, which has not prevented me from continuing to gain achievements.

  • I play with several mods active, both graphical replacers and esp-based mods, which has not prevented me from continuing to gain achievements.

  • Although I've not done anything achievement-worthy in offline mode myself, in another discussion about this, a poster responded to my possible exception by saying that, when he plays in offline mode, any achievements he may have earned while offline are awarded the next time he starts the game in online mode.

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I finished the game with only using the tcl cheat to get out of the floor (don't ask). My char was a level 29 and I had about 36 or 37 achievements unlocked on Steam. I then quit the game and started it up the next day only to find that I had 3 achievements. One of the ones that was close to completion was the 'Apprentice' achievement. I have a level 29 char.

Then after I was pissed off I got over it and started again. I use all sorts of cheats with various other chars and I can see the achievements stacking up again.

In conclusion, I don't think that this situation has been fully concluded. Everyone seems to say different things and make guesses at what the problem might be.

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EDIT: It seems like you may not have to quit in order to get the achievements. Through my own testing, I have used console commands and still obtained steam achievements without reverting to an earlier save. My process:

  1. tcl
  2. walk through some walls
  3. tcl
  4. Make an enchanted item
  5. player.additem 000bb956
  6. player.additem 00023d6f
  7. Make a potion
  8. Make a piece of armor
  9. Save game
  10. Exit Skyrim
  11. See new "Artificer" achievement

Notes:

  • I have the steam overlay disabled.
  • I'm using version 1.1.21.0

Previous answer:


Bethesda themselves release modding tools, and the console is enabled by default, so that suggests that you should be good to go right? Kind of.
Apparently once you issue a console command, you're no longer eligible for achievements until your next session. So if you're worried about achievements, enter your console command 'cheats' (like "fov 90"), save, exit, start up skyrim, load, and be on your merry way.

Sources:
gamasutra review under Console = Cheater
gamefaqs

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I can't confirm for certain in regards to Skyrim, but this is exactly how Fallout: New Vegas worked. As both are Bethesda titles, this seems like a reasonable answer –  Dave McClelland Nov 11 '11 at 19:57
    
I just loaded up a save, turned on no clipping walked through some walls, turned it off, made an enchanted item, gave myself some alchemy ingredients using player.additem, made a potion, then made a piece of armor. I exited the game and had a brand new "Artificer" steam achievement. I have the steam overlay turned off, but I don't think that would affect the process. –  Arkive Nov 23 '11 at 17:16
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