Ok here's how it works.
Each NPC you talk to will give you a diffrent response to the 4 choices. Joke, Coerce, Admire and Boast (think that's what they are all named). Most of the time NPC's will have positive responses to 2 of the items and negative to the other 2, sometimes you will get easier ones and there are a few harder ones.
The trick is there is a dial in the middle with 4 diffrent settings from very little to alot, (very little being basically an empty slot, and Alot being a full slot). Each time you use one of those the dial turns, and also you get a free rotate as well. The Object is to get the Full Pie chart into whatever gets the best response out of them, while at the same time not screwing yourself over and getting on their bad side.
Example. Useually you start out with a number in the middle, for this example we'll use 30. WHen you first start you move the cursor to each of the diffrent sections to see how they will respond to a joke/boast/admire/coerce. Watch their faces to see what kinda reactions each will get. For example if I move the cursor over Joke and they get a really big grin, I want to rotate the pie chart around so it fills in Joke and click on it. If you are successful the number will go up alot. probably to 50 or so, it all depends on how full that section is and how well they respond to it. But on the flip side you can screw yourself over to the point where if they don't like Jokes and you end up getting the full pie for Joke you will loose points. The higher the points the better they like you.
The thing is you HAVE to click on section to finish it otherwise your points count down to 0 and then they really don't like you. It just takes a little bit of playing with but once you figure it out it's fairly simple and easy. Worst case if ya got money bribe them.
Hope this helps, kinda hard to explain it, when it'd be alot easier to show ya.
As for my shadow problem... turns out that Beth removed shadows from Objects before the game was released, hence why shadows on the ribcage and chains like in the demo movies.