The original game has sold over 9.5 million copies internationally, and remains one of the most popular games in the world. One of the main factors responsible for StarCraft's positive reception is the attention paid to the three unique playable races, for each of which Blizzard developed completely different characteristics, graphics, backstories and styles of gameplay, while keeping them balanced in performance against each other. Previous to this, most real-time strategy games consisted of factions and races with the same basic play styles and units with only superficial differences. The use of unique sides in StarCraft has been credited with popularizing the concept within the real-time strategy genre. Contemporary reviews of the game have mostly praised the attention to the gameplay balance between the species, as well as for the fictional stories built up around them.
Across the course of the game's development, the races and graphics of StarCraft have changed drastically from Chris Metzen's original concept art. In particular, since their initial public debut at E3 1996, the Zerg have seen extensive changes to their visual design. This was primarily due to Blizzard's attempt to steer the game away from the visual appearance, unveiled at the 1996 E3, that had earned the game a derisive label of "Warcraft in space". The Zerg were originally known as the "nightmarish invaders", later becoming the "Zurg", and then renamed again to its current spelling to avoid any potential copyright conflicts with Pixar's Toy Story character of Emperor Zurg. In the early alpha versions built by Bob Fitch, the Zerg still showed their insect-inspired base, but their appearance was heavily dominated by spikes and bright shades of blue and purple. Early Protoss concept art showed a green and blue color scheme in their mechanical armour. Closely hewing to the familiar visual style of Warcraft II, the build received much criticism from industry press, prompting a redesign of the game engine and an overhaul of the races' respective visual designs.
This new version, unveiled in early 1997, The development team therefore embarked upon a two-month overhaul of the graphics engine. This new beta version was far closer to the release version, as the races took on their now-recognisable graphical styles: the brown insectoid design of the Zerg, the sleek yellow armour of the Protoss, and the grey machinery of the Terrans. transport ships landing on the ground to pick up and drop off passengers, although it was removed before the final release, only to be reintroduced later in the Brood War expansion.
The Protoss are a race of humanoid in the StarCraft series. They are composed of two societies, the conservative Khalai Protoss and the exiled dark templar. The Protoss are depicted as a physically strong species with access to advanced psionic abilities. The Protoss are considered the most technologically advanced race of the series and are the focus of two episodes within StarCraft and its expansion Brood War, as well as featuring in campaigns in the authorized add-ons Insurrection and Retribution. Protoss strategy in-game is usually built around the quality of units the player controls rather than the quantity. Originating from Aiur, a planet on the fringe of the galaxy, the Protoss are normally shown in the games and the novels of the series as the nemesis of the Zerg.
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