The alpha version of StarCraft generally refers to either the early alpha version unveiled at E3 1996 or a later alpha version revealed in 1997. These versions used the engine of and graphics similar to Blizzard's previous RTS WarCraft II, having its dashboard on the side, for example. The response was "tepid at best" and too much like Warcraft with fans calling the game "Orcs in Space" and "Warcraft goes purple". Later, Blizzard decided that StarCraft needed a new, better engine, which led to the StarCraft beta.
The zerg race was originally known as the "Zurg." The name was changed to "nightmare invaders" (sometimes spelled "nightmarish invaders") soon after, due to a copyright claim by Disney. It was finally changed to "zerg."
- Gamespot Blizzard article
- Starcraft 1995 slideshow from Warcraft II CD