Thanks to the faster graphics cards and textures with higher quality, the level of detail on buildings is significantly improved. In the first 3D games, houses, rock walls, and tunnels looked flat; uneven structures were painted on. As the computing power increased, there were more and more built-in structures, interiors and architectures became more complex, and the number of niches, corners, posts, projections and columns increases rapidly. Current games have more intricate buildings that are increasingly realistic looking. PC games still can’t compete with Hollywood, though. Even computer-generated buildings in films have a greater level of detail.
Towns are a different kettle of fish altogether. Game developers are now more than capable of creating the illusion of a small town. However, the majority of buildings are just scenery—a house with four walls and a roof, but no interior. To ensure that the player doesn’t get lost, there are two methods: Morrowind, Gothic, and Oblivion permit the player to enter just about all of the buildings, but the number of buildings is kept low, even in a town. GTA, Assassin’s Creed, and Half Life 2 simulate a large town, but only those buildings important to the game may be entered. The rest is just scenery.