Assembly and binary is OPcodes.
You need an hex editor first. Many good and free hex editors are available.
Cheat engine works by reading the "hex" raw file.
Binary is often represented in hexadecimal. This way, it is easier to read the Operation Codes.
Every binary editor has an option to read the file in hex.
"Cross-platform" is important.
Microsoft has created .NET Framework in 2002.
"Language interoperability. Language compilers that target the .NET Framework emit an intermediate code named Common Intermediate Language (CIL), which, in turn, is compiled at run time by the common language runtime. With this feature, routines written in one language are accessible to other languages, and programmers can focus on creating applications in their preferred language or languages."https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh425099(v=vs.110).aspx
As you can see, the program is *compiled* so .NET can use it. The "common language runtime" (CLR) compiles.
CLR uses JIT (Just-in-time compilation) to make assembly code of the machine.
JIT(s) are not very efficient or optimized. Compiling to assembly is a lot better.
Windows and other OS(es) are very complicated when trying to learn how things work.
The Net Framework is often called Windows Services or Windows API.
It can be also called with other names.
I don't know what was before .NET. The function would have been very similar.