How do Ember modules work?

For certain reasons (which I mention here: Lightweight alternative to Ember-cli), my development environment is not conducive to Ember-cli. I was hoping to sort of patch up a way of doing this using another build tool, but I’m having trouble figuring out how Ember modules work. How does Ember recognize that the right module is being used? Is it in the naming of the modules (i.e. define(‘ember-new-app/models/comment’), or is it some other way?

What would be the recommended module builder? RequireJS? How does Ember-Cli put this all together. Any help would be huge.